Zainab’s murder convict loses appeal against death sentence

  • Court rejects plea of convict’s lawyer to grant time for arguments

  • Judge says no one should raise objections when court gives justice on time


LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday rejected the appeal of Imran Ali, who was convicted by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) for the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab Amin of Kasur, against the verdict that handed him death penalty on four counts.

In his appeal, that was submitted in the high court on February 20 by jail officials, Ali claimed that he is innocent.

“The trial was conducted in haste and legal requirements were not fulfilled during the trial,” Ali said in his appeal while asking the court to overturn the ATC’s verdict.

A five-member bench headed by Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan heard the petition. Justice Shahram Sarwar gave remarks that only Imran’s DNA out of 1,187 people matched with minor girl Zainab which proved that he was a prime culprit.

“The culprit filed a plea to reduce his sentence, while you are giving arguments for his bail,” the judge questioned Imran’s lawyer. On the other hand, the investigation has already proven him guilty, he added.

No one should raise objections when a court gives justice on time, Justice Sadaqat Ali remarked.

He also rejected the plea of convict’s lawyer to grant time for argumentation, upholding the conviction of appellant Imran Ali by an ATC.

Earlier, father of the seven-year-old girl, Haji Ameen Ansari had filed a plea in Supreme Court (SC) seeking security due to threats from convict Imran Ali’s family. He said that Imran’s relatives are harassing and pressurising them.

On February 17, an ATC found Imran Ali guilty of the charges brought against him, and handed him four counts of the death penalty, one life term, a 7-year jail term and Rs 4.1 million in fines.

The four death penalties were for kidnapping, raping and murdering Zainab, and for committing an act of terrorism under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

ATA’s section 7 (a) reads: “Death of any person is caused, shall be punishable, on conviction, with death or with imprisonment for life, and with fine.”

The life sentence, along with a Rs1 million fine, was handed to Ali for sodomy; another 7-year jail sentence and Rs1 million fine were imposed for disrespecting the dead body by throwing it in a trash heap.

Additionally, Rs1 million from the penalties imposed will be paid to the victim’s heirs, the judge ruled.

Ali faces further charges in the cases of at least seven other children he attacked — five of whom were murdered — in a spate of assaults that had stoked fears a serial child killer was on the loose. He has confessed to all eight attacks, including the death of Zainab.

Zainab’s rape and murder had sparked outrage and protests across the country after the minor child, who went missing on January 4, was found dead in a trash heap in Kasur on Jan 9.
Her case was the twelfth such incident to occur within a 10-kilometre radius in the city over a 12-month period.