On Friday, a five-year-old girl was found lying unconscious in front of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Lahore after she and her little cousin – a three-year-old boy – went missing from their neighborhood in Mughalpura. A security official posted at the gate carried the unconscious child into the emergency ward; the scene has been repeatedly seen on television scenes, the child’s white frock and limp form on the security guard’s shoulder, a harrowing sight. After the medical check up, it was concluded that the little girl had been raped multiple times, by several persons, and because of injuries to her lungs and internal organs, her condition was critical.

Her family located her after announcements from the local mosque alerted neighbours, and reports of a child found abandoned outside the hospital turned out to be the culmination of the family’s worst nightmare. Attempts to file an FIR were initially rebuffed, until the matter came to the media’s attention and attracted the ire of the Chief Minister Punjab. Finally, the official machinery swung into action. In a brief and trembling interview with a private channel, the father of the child spoke simply. He did not know who was to blame. All he wanted was justice.

Regardless of the unanimity of horror and grief expressed at the crime, it has been difficult to find words to condemn an act of such cruel and depraved evil. A child, defenceless, alone, and at the mercy of society, has been made the victim of a crime of such horror that it cannot be explained – and it cannot be forgiven. In a country where women and children are constantly subjected to some of the worst crimes on earth – ranging from trafficking to sexual assault – the mere act of addressing the press, and issuing suo moto after suo moto is not enough.

Rape occurs every two hours in our country, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, while every four to eight days, a gang-rape victim is found. It was in the winter of 2012 when the nation was shocked by the Umerkot rape incident; a six-year-old was kidnapped from Ghulam Nabi Shah town of Umerkot District and raped. Civil society was outraged, the Supreme Court vowed action and politicians issued condemnation – but at the end of the day, nothing changed.

The culprits must be caught, if it takes combing the city with a fine toothcomb to do it. Their guilt must be established beyond doubt, through a fair trial. DNA evidence, so foolishly reviled by religious councils, must be used without apology and without fear. Once guilt is established, advocating for leniency in this case is not an option. Only by making extraordinary examples of these inhuman brutes, will justice be served. Find them, and hang them. This is not for revenge, or motivated by bloodlust, or religiously inspired. Quite simply, there is no place in the world of our children, for people like this.