Paramilitary forces were called to the city of Kasur near the Indian border, Punjab provincial police said.
YET another horrendous and chilling incident in Kasur in which a seven year old teenage girl was raped and then murdered put our heads down in shame and embarrassment, reminding us of both our failures as a society and the state to appropriately exercise the executive and judicial functions to curb this crime of loathing and depravity.
Police had also prepared a sketch of the suspect with help from eyewitnesses, the report said, adding that the investigation was being personally monitored by a high-powered team, headed by the Punjab AIG.
Dubbed the largest child abuse scandal in Pakistan's history, it came to light after parents of the victims clashed with police in Kasur during a protest blasting authorities for failing to prosecute the case. The police reached the spot and shifted the dead body to THQ Hospital for autopsy.
The girl, who was living with her maternal aunt, had gone to attend Quran class in the neighbourhood on January 4 when she was allegedly abducted.
They also called out the incompetence of the police at handling child abduction cases in the region.
"We don't have any expectations from police, as we gave proof to police including the CCTV footage, but they could do nothing", her uncle Hafiz Muhammad Adnan told Reuters. "We want justice. We want the culprit to be brought in front of us". We don't want an innocent to be presented as the culprit and killed just to wash this case'.
Pakistanis expressed their shock on social media using the hashtag "justiceforZainab".
Cricketer-turned-opposition leader Imran Khan urged authorities to act swiftly.
Nobel Peace Prize victor Malala Yousafzai wrote that she was "heartbroken to hear about Zainab", adding: 'This has to stop.
The protests claimed two lives when police resorted to firing in a bid to stop the protesters from surrounding the District Police Officer (DPO) and District Coordination Officer (DCO) offices. Why he is still roaming freely?
'Can we please catch this animal and punish him publicly?
Firebrand cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri who took part in the girl's funeral service demanded the local government be replaced, saying it has "no right to remain in power after the killing of Zainab Ansari".
The case has attracted the attention of the country's civilian and military leadership with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif calling for immediate action.
He issued an ultimatum to Mr Sharif and Mr Sanaullah to step down by January 17 to avoid street protests.