LAHORE - The suspected serial killer arrested by police in connection with at least eight cases of child rape-cum-murder in Kasur district is medically fit, a senior government official said Wednesday.

The official who spoke to The Nation on the condition of anonymity also claimed the alleged serial killer had no history of mental illness.

“A team of doctors has carried out Imran’s detailed check-up at a police facility and has been found medically fit,” the official said. “He is not a psychopath. In fact, he is quite a strong and stable person with no history of mental illness,” he added.

Imran Ali, 24, was handed over to the police by an anti-terrorism court on Wednesday for further interrogation. The police on Tuesday confirmed his arrest and involvement in at least seven rape-cum-murder cases in district Kasur since 2015. Seven-year-old Zainab Amin was the latest victim.

A police officer who is working closely with the investigation team told The Nation that the suspect was addicted to porn. “He used to watch porn clips on his mobile phone for hours before kidnapping children. Most of the victims were familiar with him,” the official said.

In Kasur district, porn videos are being sold in flash drives openly in bazaars and at bus stands. A large number of stalls could be seen selling porn videos at bus stands and outside shopping stores.

During the last couple of years, Imran took all the victims to different under-construction buildings in the same locality where he raped and strangled them. The police recovered all the seven bodies from the heap of garbage or under-construction houses.

According to a local resident who preferred his name not to be mentioned, the suspected serial killer used to lure minor girls by offering them toffees and candies. “He was running a shop in the small town of Roadkot. Children often visit such nearby shops to buy candies,” said the resident.

On the other hand, police investigators are grilling this ‘serial killer’ in connection with seven other rape-cum-murder cases reported in Kasur since 2015. According to Punjab Forensic Science Agency, Imran’s DNA matched the samples collected from the crime scenes in all the reported cases.

Police officials said the first rape-cum-murder case of a minor girl, Asma Bibi, was reported by police in Kasur district on June 23, 2015. Tehmina was found murdered after being raped on May 4, 2016. Similarly, Ayesha Asif was found dead on January 8, 2017.

The Kasur police recovered the body of Iman Fatima from a heap of garbage on February 24, 2017. Noor Fatima’s body was recovered on April 11, 2017. The police also recovered the body of Laiba on July 8, 2017. Kainat Batool who was found unconscious on November 12, 2017, has been battling for life at Lahore’s Children Hospital.

The suspect raped and killed at least seven children within the radius of two kilometres during the last two years, but the police failed to trace him. All the incidents were reported in the jurisdiction of three police stations—A-Division, B-Division and Saddar Kasur.

The latest killing led the police to find out that the criminal they were hunting for was a “serial killer.” Before this, the police never investigated this element despite a series of child murder cases reported in the same locality.  During the Zainab murder case probe, the police, on the basis of DNA reports of the victims, established that a single person was involved in at least seven rape-cum-murder cases. Several forensic experts were sent to Kasur for DNA sampling of local population.

The joint investigation team, comprising police investigators and intelligence operatives, arrested the suspected serial killer after a two-week-long investigation. The police interrogated a few thousand people and collected DNA tests of at least 1,150 residents of the locality.

Imran was arrested as a result of DNA profiling. During his polygraph tests also, the suspect confessed to his crime before an investigation team. The first DNA test was conducted on January 14 and the second was carried out by forensic experts on January 20.

Zainab Amin was abducted on January 4 this year when she was going to her aunt’s nearby house for the holy Quran lessons. She was found murdered after being raped on a heap of garbage in the same locality on January 9.