Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif confirms arrest of Zainab’s murderer, says ‘if law allows, the beast should be hanged at the square’
Says suspect admitted to his crimes in a polygraph test, which was conducted after his DNA matched the samples
Serial killer Imran Ali has raped and killed at least eight girls between the ages of 5 and 9 in Kasur since 2016
KASUR: In an important development in the Zainab rape and murder case, the police, on Tuesday, claimed to have apprehended the murderer of seven-year-old Zainab after DNA sample of one of the arrested suspects in the police custody matched with the samples found on the victim’s body.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore Tuesday night, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif formally announced the arrest of the key suspect in the gruesome case.
“Zainab’s suspected murderer and rapist is a 24-year-old man named Imran Ali,” CM Shehbaz announced. The suspect is a serial killer based in Kasur, who is accused of raping and murdering 6-7 girls over the course of two years.
“Our collective efforts have borne fruit and the murderer has been arrested,” the chief minister announced to loud applause.
He thanked various ministers, officials and members of intelligence agencies for tracking down the rapist.
The CM said DNA samples from 1,150 people were profiled and once the culprit was caught, his DNA match was a “100 per cent” with the evidence collected from the crime scene.
Sharif also said the suspect was given a polygraph test earlier today, “which leaves only 5pc doubt” as to his culpability. He said the suspect had “accepted all of his deeds”.
Elaborating on the DNA profiling and subsequent match with Imran, the Punjab CM said he was informed about the procedure last night.
“I requested them [officials] to not discuss it,” he said. “I visited [the lab] next day after morning prayers and had it done in front of me and it was a 100 per cent match.”
He further said that the entire nation, including Zainab’s parents, had prayed due to which such results were achieved.
“I promised Zainab’s parents that my team and I will do everything in our power to catch the culprit and we delivered within 14 days.”
Shehbaz further said that the case will be proceeded in an anti-terrorism court (ATC), and assured that all legal formalities will be completed.
“Zainab’s father wants the man to be publicly hanged but the court will decide the future course of this case,” he said.
Shehbaz requested the chief justice of the Lahore High Court to ensure that the hearing of the case is heard day and night, without any delay.
“Even if we have to amend the laws we should do so; the way Zainab was crushed like a flower, the law should crush the killer in the same manner.”
The CM said while the first phase of the investigation has been completed, the second was to bring this “beast” to justice.
ZAINAB’S FATHER SATISFIED WITH INVESTIGATION:
“If it were up to me, as a person who understands some of [Zainab’s father’s] pain, I would want him hanged on the chowk [square],” Shehbaz said, adding that he will request the chief justice of Lahore High Court (LHC) to ensure that the culprit is made an example of.
“If the law allows, he [the rapist] should be hanged at the square.”
The chief minister urged other provincial governments and political parties to “not do politics on dead bodies”.
He also extended ‘sincere’ cooperation to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government in the Aasma rape and murder case.
When asked whether Zainab and other children would have been alive today had the serial killer been caught in the first instance, the chief minister said: “I agree with you 100pc, but this is a moment to appreciate. Accountability will take place of the other [seven cases] as well.”
The parents of the other seven children will get justice as well, Sharif added.
Zainab’s father Muhammad Amin, speaking at the press conference, thanked the provincial and federal authorities, saying he was satisfied with the result of the investigation.
He also said that the accused had tricked his daughter by saying that he was taking her to meet her parents, adding that the culprit targetted his daughter after finding out her parents were out of the country.
Meanwhile, Zainab’s sister Laiba, speaking to a private news channel, said that if Imran is the real murderer, then he should be publicly hanged, adding that the suspect should be given an exemplary punishment.
“He said he used to get possessed by djinns, if that was the case then he should be given a befitting punishment to be exorcised,” said the sister.
Zainab’s brother Abu Bakar said that the suspect should be given an exemplary sentence so that others like him get a message.
People started to arrive at Zainab’s home, eagerly awaiting to know if the said killer was also involved in the murder of other children.
According to neighbours, Imran did not have any proper profession and used to claim that he would get possessed at times.
According to details, DNA samples of Imran Ali, who is currently under police custody, were sent to Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) in Lahore along with 1,050 other samples that were taken over the course of the investigations. Report from PFSA confirmed that Imran’s DNA sample matched with the traces that were collected from Zainab’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.
Police have also taken into custody four relatives of the accused on the charge of helping Imran evade authorities after his initial arrest with one of the relatives becoming an approver for the police.
Sources privy to Pakistan Today stated that the accused Imran was a mason by profession and was a resident of Kot Road, Kasur and lived near Zainab’s neighbourhood.
The suspect’s appearance also matches the appearance of the individual seen with Zainab in CCTV footage recovered by police, according to police sources.
According to Superintendent (SP) Malik Karamat, the arrested suspect Imran was very close to Zainab’s family and was even part of the protests that erupted over her killing.
On the other hand, as soon as the news of Imran’s involvement in Zainab’s case began circulating an angry mob gathered outside the accused’s house whereupon police reached the area and urged the public to remain calm in order to avoid any untoward incidents.
The spokesperson for Punjab government Malik Ahmed Khan stated that a detailed forensic report of the criminal would be available at 7 pm, after which he would be able to confirm the reports regarding a DNA match. He said all details would be shared with the media then.
Earlier, 23-year-old suspect Umar Farooq, one of the prime suspects in the case was cleared after PFSA confirmed that his DNA samples did not match the ones found on Zainab.
The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by the Punjab government to investigate the case had dispatched the samples of the suspect to the PFSA for DNA analysis a week ago.
ZAINAB’S RAPE AND MURDER:
Seven-year-old Zainab Fatima Ameen went missing on January 4 and was later found dead in a rubbish dump after several days of her disappearance. Prior to her kidnapping, Zainab had gone to her tuition centre but did not return. Her parents had gone to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah, and the girl was living with her aunts.
According to the postmortem examination, Zainab was raped and sodomised before being strangled to death. There were visible marks of torture on the face, congestion in her muscles, and her tongue was badly bruised and injured as it was pressed between her teeth.
The minor’s hymen was ruptured, and there was also evidence to suggest the child had been sodomised. There was mud, faecal matter and blood found on her corpse and samples of semen, vaginal fluid and blood were collected from her body, which were later matched against DNA samples of arrested suspects.
Zainab’s murder triggered protests all over the country which saw two protesters being killed in clashes with police after violent mobs ransacked a hospital and the house of a ruling party’s lawmaker.
Since 2016, serial killer Imran Ali has raped and killed at least eight girls between the ages of 5 and 9 in Kasur.
The Punjab government had set up a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the case and Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had also taken suo motu notice of the incident.