KASUR: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said he could not give a timeframe for the arrest of the criminals behind the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab Ameen, but vowed that he will leave no stone unturned in this regard.
Addressing reporters, Shehbaz also urged residents of Kasur to come forth with any information regarding the suspect in the eight-year-old’s rape and murder case, ‘guaranteeing’ complete confidentiality.
The CM said the inquiry was purely based on scientific investigation, including DNA testing. He added that all law enforcement agencies and NADRA were cooperating in the investigation. He added that the accused will be dealt with so sternly that anyone who thinks of committing such a heinous crime will think a hundred times.
Responding to a question on the rally being staged in Lahore by Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) supported by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Shehbaz urged opponents to not politicise the issue.
“The nation and the Almighty will not forgive us if we continue play politics on sensitive issue like this.”
Speaking about the three-year-old Aasma, who was found raped and murdered in Mardan on Monday, Shehbaz stated that Aasma was also the “daughter of the nation” just like Zainab.
Criticising his political opponents, Shehbaz remarked that they shed tears for Zainab. “Does Aasma also not deserve tears and prayers?”
He also requested all the politicians to stop engaging in politics over such incidents. “I request that we shouldn’t incite emotions of the public [over such incidents].”
He added, “the people belong to an oppressed nation. The nation is seeking justice. Justice is being sought for both Zainab and Aasma.”
SUSPECT ARRESTED FROM LAHORE’S BHATTA CHOWK:
Separately, a man resembling the suspect’s sketch provided by the authorities in the eight-year-old rape and murder case was arrested from Bhatta Chowk area in Lahore last late night.
The suspect revealed his name to be ‘Umar’ and confessed to the rape and murder of the minor girl during initial investigations, sources said. He has been handed over to the Joint Investigation Team for further investigations including DNA testing.
According to earlier reports, the prime suspect is involved in murdering at least eight underage girls.
During a meeting on Sunday, the Inspector-General of Police Arif Nawaz had personally visited Kasur to hold a meeting with the JIT members, who briefed him on the case. It had also issued a fresh sketch of the suspect after obtaining a new picture from CCTV camera, however JIT could not obtain any information about the suspect from NADRA database. They had also decided to conduct DNA tests of all people matching the suspect’s age and living in a two-kilometer radius of the victim’s house.
It is pertinent to note that the origin of a CCTV footage circulating on the media and social media of a man resembling the suspect remains unknown. Police have denied releasing any such CCTV video. The ‘suspect’ has reportedly been cleared by the investigation team after appearing before the JIT.
Another picture of a person standing behind the father of the victim went viral, resulting in him having to issue a video statement to clarify his position. Earlier, a picture of a person standing behind father of victim Zainab at Islamabad airport had also went viral. The person has to issue a video statement online to clarify his position.