- Top court disposes of suo motu notice, directs ATC to give verdict within seven days
LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday wrapped up the suo motu notice on Zainab’s rape and murder as an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore set February 12 for the indictment of the accused.
Punjab Inspector General of Police Arif Nawaz told a three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Nisar, that the challan of the case had been submitted in the anti-terrorism court (ATC).
The apex court directed the anti-terrorism court, which is conducting the trial of Imran Ali, to give a verdict within seven days after the indictment of the accused as per the orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC).
The court expressed satisfaction over the investigation into the matter and concluded the hearing after reviewing a report submitted by the Punjab IGP.
ATC TO INDICT MAIN ACCUSED ON 12th:
The trial of the suspected rapist and murderer of seven-year-old Zainab and seven other girls began on Saturday.
The ATC hearing was conducted inside Kot Lakhpat Jail whereby Judge Sajjad Ahmed stated that the suspect would be formally charged on February 12.
Deputy prosecutor said the trial court will conduct the hearing on a day-to-day basis. Four prosecutors will plead the case on behalf of the state, he added.
Earlier, the accused was produced before the ATC on Friday as his extended physical remand expired. The prosecutor general had informed the judge that the next proceedings will take place inside the jail.
The lawyer for Imran Ali, the prime accused in the rape and murder case of seven-year-old Zainab, claimed on Friday that his client could not be convicted merely on the basis of a DNA test.
“DNA tests have no value in the eyes of the law. There is no other evidence against my client either,” the lawyer said during the hearing of the case at the anti-terrorism court.
The lawyer went on to claim that Imran Ali is innocent, adding that “people cannot be sent to jail just because Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif wants them behind the bars”.
Imran Ali, during an earlier court proceeding, had admitted to the rape and murder of Zainab.
SUSPECT A POSSIBLE SERIAL KILLER:
Meanwhile, the suspected serial killer has also been nominated in the rape and murder cases of seven other children in Kasur. The investigation officer (IO) probing the cases told the ATC judge that the suspect had kidnapped, raped and killed a total of eight girls.
According to details, DNA samples of Imran Ali were sent to Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) in Lahore along with 1,050 other samples that were taken over the course of investigations into the rape and murder case of minor Zainab. Report from PFSA confirmed that Imran’s DNA sample matched with the traces that were collected from the victim’s body.
Furthermore, according to police, the suspect confessed to carrying out the heinous crime, and a polygraph test was also conducted which came positive, following which the criminal has been shifted to an undisclosed location.
The killer has reportedly told police that “djinn” is responsible for the rapes and murder of little girls, essentially saying that he was possessed by an entity.
It was revealed that Imran was initially booked on suspicion of involvement in the rape and murder of Zainab but was later released after his DNA samples were collected by the police. It was only after PFSA confirmed the matching of the DNA samples that he was rearrested on January 20 from Pakpattan.
Additionally, according to reports, Imran had shaved his beard after the incident which helped him evade arrest till now as the CCTV footage showed a man sporting a beard