LAHORE: Police Friday charged the murderer and rapist of seven-year old Kasur girl of serial killings of at least seven other minor girls, as young as five.

The high-powered joint investigation team submitted its 175-page findings report before Anti-Terrorism Court, and produced the handcuffed suspect Imran Ali before it amid tight security.

After thirteen days interrogation, Ali was charged with eight rape and execution-style murders that sparked countrywide outrage and brought international condemnation.

Police in 'challan' (investigation report) included 55 witnesses and said that his DNA report matched with the seven cases apart from Zainab's case.  

During the proceedings, a deputy prosecutor general told the court that the suspect had confessed to his involvement in the rape and murder of seven children in Kasur, apart from Zainab. He asked the court to remand the suspect to judicial custody as the police have completed their investigation. At this, ATC judge-I Sajjad Ahmed remanded the suspect to judicial custody and, on advice of the prosecutor, announced that the trial of the case would be held in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail.

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According to the prosecution, the suspect would be handed over charge sheet on Saturday by the court and was likely to be indicted the same day.

Prosecutor General Punjab Ehtesham Qadir assisted the court who also constituted a three-member-prosecution team comprising Abdur Rauf Wattoo, Waqar Bhatti and Hafiz Asghar in the case. Prosecution claimed that there had been strong evidences of Imran Ali’s involvement in murder and rape of eight minor girls including his confessional statement but he had not recorded his statement before the court that he was involved in the murder and rape of the children.

The prosecution would produce the evidences before the court on regular basis so that the trial could be concluded within the given period of seven days.

On Jan 23, the police took Imran Ali into custody and secured his 16-day physical remand for investigation.

The Lahore High Court Chief Justice had also ordered the court to conclude the trial within seven days.

On other hand, Advocate Mir Shakeel, the counsel of the suspect, pleaded not guilty and said that the investigation of the case was based upon mala fide intentions.  

Talking to the media after the hearing, the defence counsel said that there had been no ‘solid proof’ against the suspect while DNA report was not admissible in court. He claimed that the suspect was innocent and would be acquitted by the court.

On Jan 4, Zainab Amin, seven-year old child girl, was allegedly abducted by Ali Imran—the accused who was living in her neighbourhood in Kasur and on Jan 9, the body of the child-girl was recovered from a heap of garbage in the same locality. The other victim girls include Kainat, Laiba, Eman Fatima, Noor Fatima, Ayesha and Asma.

The public demand for immediate arrest of the culprit resulted in an unprecedented search in which almost all law enforcement and secret agencies took part and a large pool of suspects were probed, besides carrying out DNA profiling of more than 1100 people.