Tuesday Jan 23, 2018
LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday evening confirmed that the accused, Imran, is the murderer of seven-year-old Zainab and referred to him as a “serial killer”.
"Zainab's murderer has been caught. His name is Mohammad Imran. He is a 24-year-old resident of Kasur...he is a serial killer," Shehbaz told a press conference.
The chief minister was accompanied by the victim's father and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah at the press conference in Lahore.
"He [Imran] admitted to all his crimes in a polygraph test that was conducted after his DNA matched the samples," said the chief minister.
The chief executive of Punjab added that the forensics department had profiled 1,150 DNA samples during their investigation.
Elaborating on the DNA profiling and subsequent match with Imran, Shehbaz 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 percent match.”
Shehbaz further said that the case will be prosecuted 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 also 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."
Speaking during the press conference, Zainab’s father said he was satisfied with the proceedings of the case.
Police in Kasur had, earlier on Tuesday, claimed to have arrested the man responsible for the heinous rape and murder of Zainab.
The accused's DNA also matches the samples taken from seven other minor girls who were abused and murdered earlier in the area.
Zainab was kidnapped from near her aunt’s house on January 4 in Kasur. Her body was recovered from a garbage heap on January 9. The post-mortem of the minor revealed that she had been raped before being murdered.
The accused Imran, said to be 24-years-old, was familiar with Zainab’s family and would also frequent the minor girl's house, police sources told Geo News.
Imran is also said to be a relative of the deceased and a resident of Kot Road where the young Zainab also resided. However, Zainab's father has refuted claims that the suspect is related to them.
Imran was picked up initially by the police but was let go without testing his DNA after the family intervened and identified him as someone familiar and trusted.
After being let go Imran had fled from Kasur and for a short while was residing in Pakpattan.
On the orders of the District Police Officer (DPO), certain individuals were rounded-up again including Imran and their DNA tests were conducted.
The suspect was picked up five days earlier and interrogated which further confirmed that Imran was, in fact, the perpetrator of the crime.
According to police sources, Imran has also confessed to his crime.
Additionally, sources claim that 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.
Punjab government spokesperson Malik Ahmed Khan had earlier confirmed that the suspect Imran had been arrested from near Pakpattan.
“He (Imran) was among the 600 people whose DNA tests had been conducted,” the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson further said that circumstantial evidence pointed towards Imran’s involvement in the case. "The suspect is currently under interrogation."
A JIT was formed by the Punjab government following the brutal rape and murder of Zainab.
Multan Regional Police Officer DIG Muhammad Idrees was appointed the head of the JIT after Zainab’s father had objected to the previous JIT head.
Appearing before the Supreme Court’s Lahore Registry on Sunday, DIG Idrees submitted a progress report and informed the court that Zainab's was the eighth incident of child abuse in Kasur since June 2015.
The court then gave the JIT 72 hours to present substantial progress in the probe.
Zainab’s sister Laiba spoke to Geo News, where she said that if Imran is the real murderer then he should be publicly hanged. The sister said 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.
Police contingents were deployed outside the residence of Zainab, while Imran’s residence was also guarded in order to save it from incited mobs.
The neighbours had handed over Imran after Zainab’s body was recovered, however, he was released from custody when his condition deteriorated.
The polygraphic test of the suspect was completed, while the report was forwarded to Chief Minister Punjab. Police said that the test also proved that the suspect was involved in the crime.