The most-followed and brutal murder case of the year finally sees some headway; Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday evening confirmed that the arrested accused, Imran, is the murderer of Zainab.

The Zainab case has revealed a lot of lessons for our society, not just by shedding light on child abuse, but also by exposing our “vigilante justice” reaction to the case. There was severe mishandling and presumption, from the media and society alike. What many fail to realise is that while this is a highly important criminal trial and reminding the government of diligence is important, discretion of authorities is still required for them to do their job right. Several journalists and officials acted irresponsibly by sharing the CNIC details of the suspect online even before the official confirmation came, endangering the case. The people seem to have passed the sentence before the trial, as #HangHimPublically became viral on twitter.

While many rightly called for justice, there seems to be more emphasis on a brutal death for the killer for the audience to enjoy, rather than on combating the circumstances that shaped the mentally ill killer to become this way.

We, as citizens, must make sure he is not declared guilty prematurely - there is still a trial to come, and it is imperative that the legal process function without any outside pressure. The jails are full of innocents, wrongly convicted, in swift court cases, of due to public pressure on the Police or on the judges, rendering them unable to perform their duty. We need to set aside our emotions, and let the rational legal process take place. Let justice be done, though the heavens should fall.

The government must also ensure that a mob mentality regarding his punishment does not take hold; the “hanged in the square” suggestion by the CM betrays the principle of justice we hold dear; we do not want to become the society that feasts on executions for amusement. Punishment should be given, but the suspect’s family should be protected, and we must analyse how we, as a society, shaped such a criminal.

Beyond that, we must remember that Zainab’s case is one - even if it was the most high-profile one - of the dozens of cases that have come to light and continue to come to light every day. The public outrage and pressure must not end here, and must go beyond torturing the suspect for our own relief.