LAHORE - The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday dismissed appeal moved by Imran Ali against his death penalty awarded in rape-cum-murder case of seven-year-old Zainab Amin of Kasur.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa passed the order at the Supreme Court Lahore registry. Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah were the other members of the bench.

“It has straightaway been noticed by us that when the charge was framed by the trial court against the petitioner, he had pleaded guilty as charged and on that occasion he had got recorded a detailed confessional statement wherein he had admitted almost every charge of this case alleged against him,” the bench held.

The bench also held: “Apart from pleading guilty to the charge and making a confession by the petitioner, there were many pieces of evidence brought on the record by the prosecution which proved every word of the confession to be correct and in that regard we may refer to the CCTV footages, photographs, DNA tests and the medical evidence which had confirmed every aspect of the confession made by the petitioner. All such pieces of evidence have convinced us that the confession made by the petitioner was not only voluntary but also true,”.

On Feb 17, 2018, an anti-terrorism court sentenced to death on four counts along with accumulative punishment including 32- year imprisonment and Rs 4.1 million fine to Imran Ali convicted of raping and killing seven-year old Zainab Amin of Kasur. Later, the convict challenged his conviction before the Lahore High Court but the high court upheld the trial court’s decision and dismissed the appeal.

Amin Ansar, father of the deceased girl, was also present in the courtroom.

The Supreme Court bench held that in his statement, recorded under Section 342, CrPC, Imran Ali once again admitted almost all the vital pieces of evidence produced by the prosecution against him as correct and had once again admitted his guilt unreservedly. 

The judges said they observed that even in his arguments addressed before the trial court, he had only prayed for some lenience to be shown to the petitioner in the matter of his sentence and no argument had been advanced before the trial court challenging the merits of the prosecution’s case against him. The bench further observed that in his appeal before the LHC, he prayed again lenience in the matter of sentence, without questioning his convictions recorded by the trial court.

The court stated that Imran had not only deceitfully kidnapped Zainab but also brutally raped her and then killed her mercilessly. The bench held that the petition was, therefore, dismissed.

In his appeal, Imran Ali had said that three persons including Hafiz Sohail Ahmad Qadri, Awais Ahmad Afridi and Amir Manzoor were also the co-accused. He said he told this fact to the JIT head. He said he was also offered Rs2.5 million just to confess his guilt and his sentence would be only two to three years imprisonment and for this greed, he said, he confessed the guilt. 

Advocate Aftab Bajwa, the lawyer who was initially hired by Zainab’s father, said that he was approached not to appear in the case but he continued to appear before the court. The lawyer said he had been saying from the day one that these three people must be brought to justice but no one paid attention.

On Jan 4, Zainab Amin, a seven-year-old child girl, was abducted by Ali Imran — the accused who was living in her neighborhood in Kasur and on Jan 9, the body of the 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.