The bodies of three children were found in the Chunian locality of Pakistan’s Kasur district on Tuesday, according to police, who said all three had been reported missing in the past three months.
Police identified one of the bodies, that of eight-year-old Faizan, who went missing on Sept. 16. The remaining two bodies are in an advanced state of decomposition and have been sent for DNA testing to confirm their identity, police said. Prior to Faizan’s disappearance, Imran, 12, had gone missing on June 1, while Ali Hasnain, 8, had gone missing on Aug. 8 and Salman, 9, on Aug. 17.
Police have said the remains have been sent for forensics investigation to determine if the deceased were raped prior to their murders, as feared by locals.
Amid mounting outrage and protests in Kasur, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar took notice of the incident and ordered the provincial inspector general of police (IGP) to submit a report on the matter.
In a statement issued to media, IGP Arif Nawaz Khan said initial investigations suggested a link between the child abductions and murders, adding a special team had been tasked to conduct a speedy inquiry. Speaking to media, Kasur’s District Police Officer Abdul Ghafaar Qaisrani vowed to trace and arrest any suspects within the next three days.
This isn’t the first time that Kasur has been the center of such brutal crimes against children. In 2015, officials exposed a pedophilia ring that had reportedly sexually abused at least 280 children, with parents slamming police inaction.
Last year, the rape and murder of six-year-old Zainab Ansari sparked riots and led to the arrest and execution of a 24-year-old man who confessed to seven other cases in addition to his assault on Zainab. Even after his confession, four cases of rape and murder remained unsolved.