LHC upholds Zainab killer’s death penalty

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.— File photo


 LAHORE: A Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench on Tuesday upheld death sentence of Imran Ali convicted in rape-cum-murder case of seven-year-old Zainab of Kasur.

The bench comprising Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan and Justice Shehram Sarwar Ch. dismissed Imran Ali’s jail appeal against his conviction in the case.

Earlier, Additional Prosecutor General Punjab Abdul Samad submitted that although the convict confessed his guilt but the trial court completed the process and handed down the sentence on the basis of DNA report and other evidence.

He pleaded with the bench to dismiss the appeal as it was not maintainable.

However, convict’s counsel Asad Jamal, while questioning the DNA report, argued that the trial court decided the matter in haste under media pressure. He also sought time for preparation of the case.

But the bench declined the request and observed that the convict through his appeal had requested to lessen his sentence on the basis of confession whereas you (defence counsel) were giving arguments for his acquittal.

If there was any lacuna in trial court verdict then it should be pointed out, it added.

The bench after hearing arguments of the parties dismissed the appeal and upheld trial court verdict. Zainab’s father Amin Ansari was also present during the hearing.

On February 17, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) had awarded death sentence on four counts to Imran Ali in the case following a four-day trial conducted in the central jail.

The convict was also separately given life imprisonment and a seven-year jail term in addition to the death penalty.

The trial court had handed down the punishment on the basis of forensic, material and circumstantial evidences presented by the prosecution in addition to the confession made by Imran.

The convict had initially denied the charges against him and opted to contest the trial, however, he pleaded guilty the next day.

The court had provided him with a state counsel after his private counsel refused to further defend him following the confession.

It is pertinent to mention here that the convict was involved in eight other similar cases wherein six victims had died and only two survived. An ATC was holding jail trial of two cases against the convict at present.