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A Pakistani police chief has been sacked for mishandling an investigation into the disappearance of a six-year-old girl who was raped and murdered.

Zainab Ansari disappeared on her way to a Koranic study class on 4 January and her body was found in a rubbish heap more than a mile from her home in Kasur on Tuesday.

Officials initially said she was eight years old but her family have confirmed she was just six.

The brutal murder has sparked outrage across Pakistan, with up to 1,000 protesters lining the streets in Kasur, Lahore and Karachi.

Following a meeting with Zainab’s father Anees, Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif sacked Kasur’s police chief for negligence.

Violent clashes have happened in Kansur, Lahore and Karachi

Image: The murder sparked protests in Kasur, Lahore and Karachi

Mr Ansari had accused the police of being slow to respond after his daughter was reported missing last week.

Zainab’s uncle, Ghulam Rasool, said: “Police are not co-operating with us. 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.”

Two people were killed and three others wounded as demonstrators clashed with police in Kasur on Wednesday, hours before Zainab’s funeral.

Three police officers were arrested for opening fire on protesters instead of into the air.

The protests continued into Thursday.

“Up to 1,000 protesters are in the streets,” Kasur police spokesman Muhammad Sajid said.

Zainab is the eighth child to be raped and murdered in Kansur in the past 12 months

Image: Zainab is the eighth child to have been raped and murdered in Kasur in a year

“They have thrown stones on the buildings of the government hospital, police and deputy commissioner’s office.

“Security is deployed and trying to control the situation.”

He added that up to 20 people had been arrested over Zainab’s murder “but the investigators have been unable to find any clue so far”.

Zainab is the eighth child to have been raped and murdered in Kasur in the last 12 months, according to police.

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The Punjab government has offered a reward of 10m rupees (£66,460) for information leading to the killer’s capture, as well as compensation for the protesters killed on Wednesday.

Zainab’s death comes less than three years after a scandal in Kasur when at least 280 children were filmed being sexually abused by a gang of 25 men, who blackmailed their parents by threatening to leak the videos.

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