- Judges say petitioner ‘did not deserve any sympathy in matter of his sentences’
- Minor’s father reiterates demand for the public hanging of serial rapist
LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal by convict Imran Ali challenging the death sentence handed to him by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) for the rape and murder of a six-year-old girl earlier this year.
A three-judge bench at the Lahore registry, comprising Justices Asif Saeed Khosa, Manzoor Ahmed Malik and Mansoor Ali Shah, rejected Imran’s appeal, upholding the death penalty handed to him by the ATC.
“It has straightaway been noticed by us that when the charge was framed by the trial court against the petitioner, he had pleaded guilty as charged and on that occasion, he had got recorded a detailed confessional statement wherein he had admitted almost every aspect of this case alleged against him,” read the judgment in the case.
“There were many pieces of evidence brought on the record by the prosecution which proved every word of the confession to be correct and in that regard we may refer to the CCTV footages, photographs, DNA tests and the medical evidence which had confirmed every aspect of the confession made by the petitioner.”
“The petitioner had not only deceitfully kidnapped her but had also brutalised her by committing sodomy and rape with her and had then ultimately killed her mercilessly.”
The verdict noted that the petitioner had admitted committing similar offences with eight other minor victims and “in that backdrop, he did not deserve any sympathy in the matter of his sentences”.
The petition was dismissed and leave to appeal was refused.
Speaking to the media after the apex court’s decision, Zainab’s father thanked the apex court, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and the prosecution for maintaining the verdict. He also reiterated his earlier demand for the public hanging of the convict.
Earlier, the Lahore High Court (LHC) had also dismissed the convict’s appeal challenging the capital punishment. On February 17, an ATC had sentenced Imran to death on four counts with a cumulative punishment of 32-years in prison and a Rs3.1 million fine for raping and killing the minor.
The brutal rape and murder of Zainab had sparked outrage and protests across the country. Thousands of people took to the streets while two people lost their lives during the protests in Kasur. #JusticeForZainab became the most popular hashtag on social media and people from all walks of life demanded the immediate arrest and punishment of the culprit.
Zainab went missing on January 4 and her body was found in a heap of garbage near her house on January 9. The public demand for the immediate arrest of the culprit resulted in an unprecedented search in which almost all law enforcement and intelligence agencies took part. A large pool of suspects was probed, besides carrying out DNA profiling of more than 1,100 people.
On Jan 23, police took Imran into custody and secured his 16-day physical remand for investigation. On February 9, police submitted challan to the ATC and charged him with the rape and serial killing of minor girls, including Zainab.