LAHORE/Kasur - After hectic efforts of 14 days by the Punjab government and civil as well as military agencies, the rapist-cum-killer of seven-year-old Kasur girl, Zainab, has been identified and taken into custody.

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced this successful operation before media persons in the presence of Haji Muhammad Ameen, father of Zainab, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan, police, administrative/intelligence officials and the Punjab Forensic Science Agency and Laboratory DG here yesterday.

Imran, the rapist-cum-killer of Zainab, is a serial killer as a dozen of Kasur girls below the age of eight have been raped and killed by him since June 2015. Through the investigation held both on scientific and human level, he has been found the killer of seven of them.

Feeling the pain and cruelty of the pathetic incident of Zainab’s murder, the chief minister expressed his desire that Imran should be hanged publicly so that no one in future could dare to repeat such a heinous crime.

He affirmed the case of Imran would be tried in the Special Anti-Terrorism Court, urging the Lahore High Court chief justice to hold its proceedings on day-to-day basis to take the matter to logical conclusion at the earliest. He assured the court of the Punjab government’s fullest help. He opined the court, while deciding the case under the law, might order public hanging of 24-year-old Imran, ‘the beast’. He also hinted at amending the law for the public hanging of the convicts of such gruesome offences as a lesson to others.

The chief minister revealed the KP government had also approached the Punjab government for forensic lab help to trace out the culprit of five-year-old Asma of Mardan who was also raped and murdered some 10 days ago, the CM offered full cooperation to them in this regard. He also offered forensic lab help to the Sindh government in Naqeeb killing case. He said such incidents were painful for every Pakistani, so no one should do politics on them.

Shehbaz said: “We are highly thankful to Almighty Allah Who made our untiring and hectic efforts successful. He appreciated the JIT, Punjab police, Forensic Lab, ISI, MI, IB, administration, political leadership, the media and prayers of the whole nation that resulted in the arrest of Imran. He also thanked the army chief for extending every help in this regard.

The CM termed the officers who shared efforts to track down the killer shining stars of the nation. Shehbaz remarked he had never seen such commitment, dedication and concerted efforts to trace such a difficult crime. He also announced to take action against the police personnel who neglected their duties at the earlier stage after Zainab had gone missing on January 4.

Before addressing media persons, the chief minister also held a meeting with the father of Zainab.

It may be mentioned that the body of Zainab was recovered on January 9, after five days of her going missing, from a heap of garbage around 300 yards from her residence. The incident sparked a strong public reaction which jolted not only the police department but also the Punjab government. Taking notice of the incident, the Supreme Court on Sunday gave 72 hours to the police to trace the culprit.

Imran lived just nine houses from the residence of Zainab in the same street. His DNA samples were twice obtained, on January 14 and January 20, and their laboratory results showed the same matching with that of seven little girls, including Zainab. DNA tests of a total of 1,150 suspects of the area were carried out and Imran was one of them. A polygraphic test of Imran also came positive to establish his link with the rape-cum-murderer of Zainab and six other innocent girls.

Amid a very tight security, Imran was brought to Lahore along with four others who had facilitated him to conceal and cover up his offence.

The chief minister continued to say that after the arrest of the beast serial killer, the first phase of the case had been completed and vowed he would not rest even for a moment to take the matter to its logical conclusion in the next phase. He said the cold-hearted killer had crushed the innocent flower before it could blossom, so he deserved to be dealt with iron hands.

Shehbaz told the media he had learnt about the DNA matching of Imran Monday night, but he had asked them not to leak the news because he first wanted his own satisfaction on the DNA profiling of the killer.

In the background of protests by various political and religious parties on Zainab’s murder, the chief minister appealed to them to avoid doing politics on dead bodies and show unity on such incidents. He said the country was facing many crises which could be overcome with unity and not through differences.

On this occasion, Forensic Lab DG Dr Ashraf Tahir showed the media the DNA matching of Imran with the victims on screen.

Speaking on this occasion, Zainab’s father Amin Ansari thanked the JIT, police and his relatives for their efforts to apprehend the suspect. “I was in Saudi Arabia and when I was told about my daughter’s disappearance, I rushed back to Pakistan,” he said, adding that he appealed to the army chief and CJP to take notice of the incident.

Police said that Imran’s DNA matched with the samples collected from the victims. The suspect was familiar with Zainab’s family and would also frequent the minor girl’s house. He is a resident of Kot Road, where Zainab also lived.

Kasur police spokesperson Sajid Ali said the suspect was arrested overnight and has confessed to the crime.

According to sources, the police had taken hundreds of suspected persons into custody and had been getting their DNAs examined in a forensic laboratory since the day Zainab was found dead on a pile of trash near Kashmir Chowk.

Imran who is residing 200 metres away from Zainab’s house was amongst those taken into custody, but was released unexamined owing to intervention of locals and Zainab’s parents. They declared Imran as innocent, telling the police he couldn’t be the murderer of the girl. But the police continued tracking him. After his release, the accused fled to Pakpattan where he shaved his beard. On a tip-off from Special Branch, the police rearrested him from Pakpattan, took his DNA samples and released him. His DNA matched the samples taken from the crime scene, on which a police team, headed by DPO Zahid Nawaz Murwat, raided his house and arrested him.

The situation turned tense in Kasur after the media broke the news concerning the arrest of the murderer of Zainab. A large number of people gathered outside the house of Imran and attempted to set it ablaze. They were, however, prevented by police from doing so. The police locked the house and shifted his family to a safe place.

According to locals, Imran was a na’at khawan and had acquaintance with children of the area. He used to buy children chocolates and toffees. People used to come to him for faith healing also. He used to claim some paranormal influences on him.


Zainab’s killer arrested: Shehbaz