The alleged murderer and rapist of a seven-year-old girl who was kidnapped, raped and killed in Pakistan has been arrested.

The news was announced by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif during a press conference in Lahore earlier today.

Police sources have also claimed the suspect has confessed to the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab Ansari.

The suspect, named Imran Arshad, is a neighbour of the family and is also accused of raping and murdering 6 to 7 other girls over the course of two years.

“Our collective effort has borne fruit and the murderer has been arrested,” a triumphant Sharif announced to loud applause.

Sharif also said the suspect had “accepted all of his deeds” after a polygraph test was taken.

He was tracked down after his DNA has matched with those found from Zainab’s body.

Over 1050 people were subjected to DNA tests during the investigation.

Earlier in the day, Kasur had turned tense as residents surrounded the house of the suspect, Imran, after police said they had arrested him in connection with Zainab’s rape and murder.

Before his arrest a mob began gathering outside his house before police reached the area and urged people to remain calm.

Television footage showed a contingent of police in riot gear deployed to secure the surrounding area.

Zainab was kidnapped from her aunts home on January 4 while her parents travelled to Saudi Arabia to perform the ummrah pilgrimage.

Her body was found four days later in a garbage dumpster near where she had been kidnapped in Kasur district.

Shockingly it was the 12th incident of a girl being abducted, raped and killed in the past year alone in the district, police said.

Angry residents took to the streets ahead of the girls funeral and blamed the authorities over failures in investigating cases like these.

An angry mob attacked a local police station with stones before police resorted to firing gun shots into the air to stop the protesters, two people were killed.

Zainab’s parents, who arrived back from Saudi Arabia, told news outlets they would not bury her until her killer has been caught and pleaded with the police to do more.

Her father, Ameen, said: “We are going to try and not bury our child until the issue has been properly resolved,” he said.

“We are going to appeal to the chief justice of Pakistan, to the army chief of Pakistan, and everyone that has daughters.

Suspect Imran Arshad

“If there is any humanity, they should take action immediately.”

Zainab’s uncle, Hafiz Muhammad Adnan, has publicly asked for calm, and called for the murderer to be arrested alive.

“Just to lift the burden off themselves, the authorities shouldn’t kill some innocent person and say ‘yes we have given you justice’,” he said.

“We want the killer alive. And moreover, security should be improved in the area, security cameras need to be installed.”

Police also confirmed on January 13 that the results of DNA tests carried out in the wake of the rape and murder of Zainab in Kasur indicated the involvement of one culprit in at least seven similar cases that occurred in the district over the past year.