Allah Ditta, a resident of Cha Lucmanwala Nawan Kot (Layyah), some 350 kilometres from Lahore, told police that her daughter had gone to the local fruit market yesterday noon but did not return. Police launched a search after registering a report, but could not locate the girl.
Some passers-by noticed the body hanging from a tree and informed the police. The incident has sent a shockwave among the residents who took the girl's body to the district police officer's (DPO) office and staged a protest against the gruesome murder.
The culprits are yet to be arrested.
In a similar incident in Badaun in Uttar Pradesh, bodies of two teenaged cousins were found hanging from a mango tree on May 28 after being raped, sparking a global outrage.
DPO (Layyah) Ghazi Salahuddin said that the girl was raped before strangulation. Another police official who is part of the investigation told PTI that the girl had relations with a person named Irfan. "We had reports that yesterday she went to meet Irfan. At the moment Irfan is a prime suspect in the case and we are raiding to arrest him to get a clue to this gory act," the police official said.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has ordered the DPO to submit a report and arrest the culprits at earliest. Rights activist Mahmal Sarfraz told PTI that this case showed the sickness of the culprits.
"The culture of demeaning women through rape is on the rise in Pakistan. Since the culprits involved in rape and other crimes against women get away owing to no or poor follow up of the cases, it is difficult to arrest this trend," she said.
Mamal further said so much so crime against women is often not considered crime. "It is a mindset and it needs to be changed," she said.