LAHORE - An anti-terrorism court yesterday reserved verdict in the rape-cum-murder case of seven-year old Zainab Amin and seven other minor girls of Kasur.

ATC Judge Sajjad Ahmad concluded proceedings after the lawyers of both the sides completed their arguments during hours-long proceedings at Kot Lakhpat jail. 

The statements of 33 witnesses were recorded within just two days. The court also completed cross-examination of the witnesses. It is expected the trial court would announce its verdict on February 17 (tomorrow).

Advocate Mehar Shakeel Multani, counsel for Imran Ali, withdrew his power of attorney and said he was not contesting the case.

He said, after confessional statement of Imran Ali, he did not want to plead his case. “My conscience doesn’t allow me to defend such a criminal,” said Multani before the judge. Muhammad Sultan has been nominated as counsel of Imran Ali by the Punjab prosecutor general.

The court recorded statements of 33 witnesses and adjourned the proceedings until Thursday (today). The court also directed lawyers of both the sides to conclude their arguments on the matter. It is likely that the trial court would announce its decision within next 24 hours. The LHC had already ordered the trial court to conclude the case within seven days.

On February 9, the police charged the accused with the murder-cum-rape of seven-year old Zainab and that of seven other minor girls.

The high-powered joint investigation team submitted its 175-page findings report before the anti-terrorism court and produced handcuffed Imran Ali before it amid tight security.

After 13-day interrogation, Ali was charged with eight rapes and execution-style murders that sparked countrywide outrage and international condemnation.

Police included 55 witnesses in the challan and said that his DNA report matched the seven cases apart from that of Zainab Amin.

Zainab Amin was abducted on January 4 when she was going to learn the holy Quran at her aunt’s house in Kasur. Her body was recovered from a heap of garbage near her house after several days of her abduction.