Islamabad: A Pakistani anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Saturday handed over four counts of death penalty to accused Imran Ali under section 7 of anti-terrorism act in seven-year-old Zainab Ansari’s rape and murder case.
The verdict was announced by ATC judge Sajjad Ahmed at Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore. The court also sentenced Imran Ali to life imprisonment and imposed Rs 1 million fine.
It is the first time in Pakistan’s history that a trial was completed in four days with 13-hour-long proceedings daily.
As per the orders of Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, Punjab Prosecutor General Ahtesham Qadar personally attended all the hearings of the case.
He said the trial in the rape and murder of other seven girls against the suspect is underway as legal requirements have to be fulfilled yet.
Seven-year-old Zainab Ansari went missing on January 4 on her way back to home from maternal aunt’s house. On January 8, her body was found in a garbage dump in the city of Kasur.
She had marks of torture on nose, neck, and other parts of the body and was raped before murder, revealed medical report.
The guardians complained upon return from Saudi Arabia that the police did not cooperate with the relatives, who were looking for the missing minor.
On January 10, protest broke out in the metropolis against the brutal murder of Zainab after rape and demanded to hang the culprit in public. Police officers resorted to aerial firing when violent protesters tried to storm commissioner office, killing two people and injuring three others. The wounded were shifted to the hospital for medical assistance.
Countless CCTV footages of the surrounding areas were monitored and eventually released where the 7-year-old girl is seen walking with the murderer.
On January 10, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar took suo motu notice of the case, directing to properly investigate it. He maintained that Kasur incident was an embarrassment for the entire country as Zainab was their daughter too.
He insisted that lawyers may stage protest against the brutal killing but should not boycott court proceedings as the litigants will suffer from this.
On February 10, the CJP disposed of the suo moto notice after a challan against Imran was submitted in the court. The apex court also expressed satisfaction on the performance of police.
DNA samples of more than 1150 people were taken among which suspect Imran was also included, however, he left the place by tricking policemen of heart pain.
He was rearrested on January 20 in Kasur after his DNA sample matched with that collected from the body of the victim.
On January 22, accused’s family was taken into custody by rangers for investigation while Punjab CM along with Zainab Ansar’s parents held press conference, lauding the performance of police department for nabbing the suspect.
A total of 1,764 cases of child abuse were reported across Pakistan in the first six months of 2017, according to Sahil, an organization that works on child protection. In 2016, the total number of reported child abuse cases was 4,139, or around 11 new cases reported per day.