Zainab's killer handed four death sentences

Sunday, 18 Feb, 2018

The killer who raped and murdered seven-year-old Zainab Ansari has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court.

Zainab Ansari's body was found dumped in garbage close to her home in the city of Kasur, in eastern Punjab province, authorities said.

On February 13, Imran confessed to murdering and raping Ayesha Asif age 7, dead body found on January 7, 2017; Eman Fatima, age 7, February 24, 2017; Noor Fatima age 7, April 11 2017; Laiba Saleem age 7, July 8, 2017; Zainab Amin age 7, January 4, 2017 and others.

Announcing the verdict at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore at in-camera trial amid high security, ATC judge Sajjad Hussain handed down the death sentence to 23-year-old Imran Ali on four grounds murdering a child, kidnapping a child, rape of a minor, and committing an unnatural act with a minor.

Under Pakistani law, crimes considered to have spread terror in society can be charged as acts of terrorism.

ATC prosecutor Abdul Rauf Wattoo, in previous hearings, presented evidence including CCTV footage, DNA test, polygraph test, accused's clothes and other things in the court.

The following is a timeline starting from Zainab's abduction till the verdict.

The public demand for immediate arrest of the culprit resulted in an unprecedented search in which nearly all law enforcement and secret agencies took part.

Muhammad Amin, father of Kasur's seven-year-old Zainab, has demanded that the prime suspect in the rape and murder case of his daughter should be stoned to death.

After Zainab's murder, the country united for a nationwide protest against government's inaction and it also led to media campaign after years of him being on the loose.

The prosecutors said he also received life imprisonment and fines totalling 3.2 million rupees ($30,000) for additional charges of hiding his victim's body.

Ali confessed to eight cases, but it is not clear if the four others are linked.

But the amendment proposed by the Senate's Senate Standing Committee seeks to add the words "by hanging publicly" at the end after the word "death" to Section 364-A. Meanwhile, accused counsel Mehr Shakeel decided not to plead the case after his confessional statement.