Dubai: On Thursday morning, the hashtag #JusticeForZainab from Pakistan became the top Twitter trend in the UAE.
Social media users were enraged by the crime against the child, demanding that the accused, whose picture was captured on CCTV, be brought to justice.
Twitter user @iihtishamm posted a picture from the CCTV footage showing the girl being led by a man and wrote: “The picture of Zainab’s rapist and killer is clearly captured. Why is he still roaming freely? Can our [Pakistan] agencies and authorities capture him? Can we please catch this animal and punish him publicly? Can we do something to protect our children? #JusticeForZainab”
Other users criticised the killing of protestors, who were out in the streets on Wednesday after the story broke - @khadeeeej751 tweeted: “Police opened fire on protesters, destroyed more families, here they sit and mourn under sky ... They’re helpless as yet no FIR lodged ....”
Celebrities from Pakistan’s film and television industry also tweeted about the incident. However, one of the most popular comments was by Jibran Nasir, the lead campaigner of ‘Never Forget’, a campaign in Pakistan to honour the people who have died due to terrorism or religious extremism. Using the handle @MJibranNasir, he wrote: “Today we want #JusticeForZainab, some even want a public execution but tomorrow when a Facebook page, TV show, film or school will try to create awareness about child abuse, we will condemn it as vulgarity. Can we really save our children this way where people are too afraid to report?”
He went on to cite the case of a television show ‘Udaari’, which highlighted the case of a child facing sexual abuse by her stepfather in a village in northern Pakistan. The show received a notice from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) after people complained that it showed content that was “immoral”.
Several protests and marches were also organised and promoted through social media. Twitter user @IALalika1 tweeted: “Guys/girls a protest outside Punjab Assembly regarding #JusticeForZainab at 1300 hours on 11th January. Plz spare sometime.”