LHC gives police 24 hours to nab Zainab’s killer

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ISLAMABAD: On expiry of its first deadline, the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday gave the Punjab police chief another 24 hours to arrest the ‘real’ culprits behind the grisly rape and murder of Zainab, a seven-year-old girl, in Kasur.

A two-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, also ordered setting up a special child court where the trial of cases of such nature would be shifted for early dispensation of justice. The special court would hear these cases on a daily basis and no other case would be entertained by it.

In the previous hearing, the LHC top judge had directed the inspector general of police (IGP) in Punjab to arrest the perpetrators of gruesome crime in 36 hours and use all the resources if needed.

On Monday, when the two-member bench resumed proceedings on a petition filed through senior advocate Azhar Siddique and Shahin Pirzada, it observed that the police should admit that they showed negligence in cases of the girl’s abduction, rape and killing.

“Had the police taken strict action in June 2015 against accused persons [in Kasur’s infamous child pornography case], the incident of [the rape and murder of]Zainab would not have occurred,” Justice Shah observed.

before the court and an additional IG Punjab appeared on his behalf. Commenting on his absence, the petitioner’s counsel said this non-appearance showed how much the police department was serious in Zainab case.

The additional IGP as well as Abubakar Khuda Bux, the former head of the joint investigation team (JIT) formed to probe into the case, said several incidents of sexual abuse of children had occurred in Kasur.

The Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) chief told the court that the PFSA had conducted Zainab’s DNA test whose result matched with those from seven previous tests.

“This means there is one serial killer behind the incidents who first abducts the minors, rapes them and then kills them. The police have investigated 67 suspects but they are not the actual culprits,” he said, adding that all measurers had been taken for the arrest of the actual accused.

The additional IGP told the court that the police had no means to arrest the culprit until the DNA test was matched. “Don’t rely only on the DNA test as we know the police know several other ways for the arrest of culprits,” said Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan, the other member of the bench.

The bench after recording statements of policemen and state lawyers ordered a special child court to be established to hear cases on a daily basis. The court ordered the PFSA that there should be no delay in forensic reports in pending cases of the child court, adding that the prosecution would assist that court.

The court was also informed that the same killer also attempted to murder one minor ‘Kayenat’ after raping her, but she luckily remained safe and was now under treatment in a hospital. The bench was informed that she was out of danger but she could not speak.

Extending for 24 hours the deadline to arrest the culprit, the LHC later directed the IGP to arrest the real culprits in the Zainab case and submit a fresh report. The court also directed the JIT head to appear before the bench and the secretary schools for assistance in children’s curriculum.

A police official told The Express Tribune that the JIT had started collecting the DNA test of all residents of two police stations of Kasur where the incidents of killing of minor girls had been reported.

“Teams of forensic experts are visiting every house in the locality to collect samples. The police are also compiling record of the residents to spot if someone has gone missing in the last few days,” he said.

Meanwhile, another CCTV footage emerged on Monday in which the suspect and the victim can be spotted. It is seen in the video that the suspect signals to the victim who starts following him.

The reaction of the victim shows that she was much familiar with the apparent culprit. With no lead in the case, the police were investigating the matter focusing on matching DNA samples.

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