Malik Ahmad Khan, a spokesman for the Punjab government, said Friday that investigators suspect that whoever raped and murdered Zainab was involved in the other attacks on girls, and so appears to be a serial killer.
Zainab was kidnapped from Road Kot area in Kasur while her parents were in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah. Her body was later found in a garbage pile near her home.
DNA samples have also been taken from 90 possible suspects.A post-mortem report suggested that Zainab had been brutally assaulted.
A police official speaking on condition on anonymity said two of Ansari's relatives had been interrogated and 26 locals are now in custody and being questioned. The authorities deployed troops in the town after earlier protests turned violent. A hashtag #JusticeforZainab has also started trending on social media.
In March 2016, Pakistan passed a law against sexual abuse of minors and child pornography, making the crimes punishable by up to seven years in prison.
During the period, five mobile numbers were used whereas three calls were made from a suspected number.
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The experience has scarred the local community.
According to a video tweeted by journalist Omar R. Quraishi, Pakistan TV anchor Kiran Naz can be seen sitting with her daughter and talking about the barbaric rape and murder of a young girl from Pakistan's Kasur district.
Eight-year-old Zainab Ansari went missing last week while heading to a nearby home for Quranic studies.
This is the 12th such case in the same 2-kilometer area, the regional police office confirmed. He said the head of the investigation was replaced by another seasoned officer following complaints by the victim's father. "This day marks the funeral of humanity", she further said. "Because I could see Zainab when I looked at her", she said.
CORRECTION: This story has been revised to give the correct number of girls who have been attacked and killed in Kasur, in eastern Pakistan.