A picture of the boy, Zaid, which has been circulating on social media. Image Credit: Social Media

Dubai: The body of a boy identified as Zaid, who is reported to be seven or eight years old according to various media reports, was recovered from a cave in an orange garden in a village of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan, almost two months after he was reported missing.

Pictures of the boy before and after the brutal incident circulated on social media with #JusticeForZaid trending on social media from yesterday. While the district police said that it had arrested two suspects, social media users in Pakistan continued to raise awareness about the issue.

Lawyer and civil rights activist, Mohammad Jibran Nasir, tweeting under the handle @MJibranNasir, wrote: “Mutilated body of a minor found in [the village of] Lower Dir. Seven-year-old Zaid went missing on December 23, 2017, and his body was found two days ago from inside a small cave situated in an orange orchard. Location of body was revealed in a hand-written note found in local mosque. Just spoke with the father.”

Other users posted pictures and videos of protests held across the country seeking justice for the young boy’s family.

A social worker, Imad Khan, posted updates from a peaceful protest he had organised at the University of Peshawar, writing: “Another murder, another case of child abuse, another innocent Zaid is killed. We have the power of social media, we can raise our voices against such barbarism. Peaceful protest against the brutal killing of Zaid.”

A report by Pakistan’s Ministry of Human Rights that was presented in the National Assembly last week revealed that 17,862 cases of child abuse have been reported in the country since 2013.

On Saturday, Pakistan’s anti-terrorism court handed down the death sentence on four counts to Imran Ali, accused for the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab Ameen in Kasur.

Zainab’s case highlighted the issue of child safety in Pakistan, with the country’s celebrities sharing personal experiences of being harassed or victimised as children. The attempt to break the taboo surrounding the issue of child abuse seems to have had an impact, as the verdict was announced within 24 days of the arrest of the suspect.

Reacting to the verdict, Twitter user @STEFYGUPTA wrote: “So glad justice has been achieved for Zainab in #Kasur court case - now we require justice for the thousands of child abuse victims across Pakistan, and not empty words from the government. #JusticeForZainab.”

With the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police saying they had arrested two suspects in the Zaid case, users hoped this case would also be tried just as swiftly as Zainab’s.

Twitter user @ninoqazi wrote: “The horror of so many child abuse murders around the country is devastating. I hope, wish and pray every single one is treated and responded to like in the case of #Zainab’s murder. Every child in Pakistan should be safe and secure.”