LAHORE - The Supreme Court on Sunday gave 72-hour deadline to investigating agencies to reach some definite conclusion in rape-cum-murder case of seven years old Zainab of Kasur.

Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, a three-judge bench passed the order at the top court’s Lahore registry.

Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Justice Ijazul Ashan were the other members of the bench holding suo motu hearing of the brutal incident.

It was the second consecutive Sunday when the Chief Justice took up public interest cases, forgoing his weekly holiday.

At the outset of Zainab case proceeding, head of Joint-Investigation Team DIG/RPO Muhammad Idress appeared before the bench and shared what the police had done so far in the case.

The officer said that they carried out DNA test of 800 people while some suspects were missing. The suspect(s) may be in the last 40 people who have gone missing, he added.

At this, Justice Malik asked him that DNA was just corroborative evidence and police should employ other means of investigation also to trace the suspects.

“Had there been same spirit [on part of police] in the beginning [in 2015], the later brutal incidents including Zainab’s would not have happened,” he remarked.

“Also use the traditional way of investigation, depute investigators at least of DSP rank to carry out the investigation,” the judge advised. After all, they cannot conduct DNA test of all the people, he added.

The JIT head said they have investigated the matter from different angles. “We carried out investigation not only in Kasur but also in Lahore, Sheikhpura, Okara and Nanakana Sahib [where such cases have occurred],” said Idrees.

“Many people are missing but I’m hopeful that he (the culprit) will appear soon,” the officer said.

Justice Manzoor Malik, who is also known for his expertise in criminal law, suggested the investigators to find commonalities in the incidents of minors’ rape and murder.

“In all cases, the bodies of children were recovered from near their homes... Zainb’s body was also dumped near her house; that shows the mindset of the criminal,” he observed, and directed the JIT to hire the services of some psychiatrist to learn what did this approach of the criminal show.

The chief justice asked Punjab Forensic Science Director General Ashraf Tahir to tell about the role of DNA tests in the investigation. The DG said he wanted to share the details of his findings but not in the open court.

The chief justice expressed trust in the forensics expert and his institute, and expressed the hope that their research would provide some key lead in the investigation.

Advocate Ahsan Bhoon, representing the victim families, raised objection on the police investigation saying that some accused were killed in fake encounters while another two were tortured to confess that they had abducted and killed minor girls.

He said DSP Arif Rasheed had been posted in Kasur for last two years and people didn’t consider him a man of good character.

On it, Justice Malik observed that police should not be discouraged as it is they who have to do the investigation. “Don’t mix all the cases, let them do their job,” he remarked.

Social activist Abudllah said that were tired of picking up minors’ corpses in Kasur.

The bench asked the chief secretary about another child girl who was subjected to rape and torture in the same district.

The officer said that she had been undergoing treatment at Lahore’s Children Hospital. Her doctor told the court that “her brain is dead but they are making efforts for her recovery”. Her MRI would be conducted after which they would devise further treatment plan, the doctor added.

Parents of some victim children also appeared before the court and cried for justice. At this, the chief justice observed that the incidents were awful and God willing, the culprits will be arrested.