MARDAN: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Monday convicted the suspect in the rape and murder case of four-year-old Aasma in Mardan, Muhammad Nabi, and handed him life imprisonment.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs1million on the convict.
Aasma had gone missing on January 14 in Mardan’s Gujar Garhi area, and her dead body was found from sugarcane fields near her home on January 15. Forensic testing confirmed that the child was subjected to sexual abuse before being killed.
On February 7, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Police arrested the main suspect, 15-year-old Muhammad Nabi who was a close relative of the minor girl after the Supreme Court had taken suo motu notice of the incident and directed the early arrest of the suspect.
Later, the accused had confessed to his crime, stating that he had taken Aasma to a sugarcane field and tried to sexually abuse her. However, after the child cried, he strangled her to death.
Earlier this year, an ATC had convicted the man accused of raping and murdering seven-year-old Zainab Amin in Kasur, Imran Ali.
The court had handed him four counts of the death penalty, one life term, a 7-year jail term and Rs 4.1 million in fines.
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.
In 2016, 4,139 incidents of child abuse took place where 43 per cent of the survivors were acquainted with the criminals, while 16 per cent of the reported cases showed family members as the perpetrator.
Lahore saw 107 cases of child rape, the report prepared by Punjab’s additional chief secretary and additional inspector general stated. It further pointed out that 2017 saw a higher number of reported child rape cases than 2016.
In 2016 and 2017 years, 1,297 cases of child rape were reported in Punjab; out of these, 66 cases were reported in Kasur, 38 in Sheikhupura, 50 in Khushab. Out of the total number, 252 were cases of sexual assault against girls while 1,045 were cases of sexual assault against boys.
These cases are often ignored as the victim families often try to avoid going to the police and courts over the taboo surrounding the practice.