LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Thursday reserved verdict in rape and murder case of seven-year-old Zainab after conclusion of arguments by the parties, which would be announced on February 17 (Saturday).
ATC-I Judge Sajjad Ahmad conducted the proceedings of the trial on daily basis in compliance with the directions of the Lahore High Court, at Kot Lakhpat Jail.
The prosecution team presented 56 witnesses against the accused Imran Ali and claimed that he was guilty of the crime in the light of evidence, including the DNA report. The prosecution also submitted forensic reports of videos and other materials to support its case.
The prosecution team comprising Abdul Rauf Wattoo, Abid Waqar Bhatti, Hafiz Asghar and Farah Faiz argued the case whereas Prosecutor General Punjab Ehtesham Qadir also remained present in the court during the trial.
On Wednesday, the prosecution department provided the accused with a state lawyer after his private defence counsel withdrew his power of attorney, following the confession, made by Imran Ali.
Advocate Mehar Shakeel Multani told reporters outside the jail that he could never think of defending a criminal and had, therefore, decided to withdraw his power of attorney. He said the suspect had misled him about his innocence.
Initially, the accused had denied the charges and opted to contest the trial at the time of framing of charges.
However, he made a confession soon after. The accused was indicted on February 12, whereas the court recorded his complete statement on February 14.
Seven-year-old Zainab was kidnapped on January 4 from near her aunt’s house in Kasur. Her body was discovered five days later from a garbage heap. The post-mortem report revealed that she had been raped and murdered. The police had arrested the suspect Imran Ali with the help of a DNA report.
It is pertinent to mention here that Imran Ali is also suspected of involvement in at least eight other cases of rape
and murder of minors in Kasur.—APP