Nineteen-year-old is believed to have committed suicide, according to police.
The body of a young girl was found hanging from a tree in the Layyah area of southern Punjab on Thursday night, according to police, who said that it appeared to be a suicide.
“We have received information from locals in the Nawah Kot area that the body of a 19-year-old girl has been found hanging from a tree,” said local official Jameel Aslam on Thursday night. “We are investigating the matter, although it will be difficult to access the area before morning,” he added.
Aslam claimed the deceased matched the description of a girl who had been abducted from Nawah Kot on Wednesday, but could not confirm if she had been murdered. “We will also see whether the case is linked to any sexual violence and will proceed with our investigation after examining the postmortem report,” he added.
However, Farooq Azam, another police officer, said the deceased, Muzammal Bibi, had committed suicide and had not been abducted. “There was confusion over the girl’s identity,” he said. “The abduction is related to another girl of the same age.”
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of the incident, said provincial lawmaker Rana Tanweer, but could not confirm what action, if any, might be taken.
Naseem Bibi, a local activist, said cases of sexual violence, honor killing and rape were on the rise in southern Punjab, and the case should be thoroughly investigated. “Last year we had some 367 cases of sexual violence reported in southern Punjab. Out of those, 198 had resulted in the rapist killing his victim,” she said. “The government need to do more to empower police to handle these kinds of cases,” she said, adding, “Sexual violence against women is definitely on the rise in Pakistan.”