The alleged rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Pakistan has led to a global campaign to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The body of Zainab Ansari, initially reported as being seven years old, was found in a rubbish bin in Kasur, in the Punjab, days after she went missing on her way to a Koranic studies class.
Following the violence and increasing international attention in the case, the hashtag #JusticeForZainab began trending worldwide, and famous Pakistani figures including Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and members of the national cricket team joined a chorus of disgust at the crime.
Ms Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban at the age of 15, is a vocal activist for girls’ right to education, and demanded that the government take action.
She wrote that she was “heartbroken to hear about Zainab”, adding: “This has to stop. Gov and the concerned authorities must take action.”
Pakistani politician and ex-international cricket player Imran Khan also condemned the incident and said that the guilty must be punished “swiftly”.
Another prominent Pakistani politician, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of assassinated prime minister Benazir Bhutto, expressed his sympathies and solidarity with the bereaved family and demanded that Pakistan re-evaluate how it deals with such horrific crimes against children.
Pakistan cricketers Mohammad Hafeez and Mohammad Amir also tweeted condolences to Zainab’s parents.
Police said six girls have been sexually assaulted in recent months in Kasur, and many figures including actor Hamza Ali Abbasi questioned whether enough was being done to ensure authorities kept young women in the region safe.
Zainab went missing last week while her parents were away at a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
Following their return to Islamabad airport on Wednesday, Zainab’s father said: “We will not bury our daughter until her killers are arrested.”