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Punjab IG gets 36 hours to nab Zainab case suspect

January 13, 2018

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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday gave Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Arif Nawaz 36 hours to arrest the suspect behind the abduction, rape and murder of six-year-old Zainab in Kasur.

A two-judge bench, hea­ded by LHC Chief Justice (CJ) Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, heard the petition filed by Advocate Safdar Shaheen Pirzada, requesting the court to arrest the culprit behind the child’s murder.

The petitioner said a large number of rape and murder incidents had taken place in Punjab recently, but there had been no concerted effort to arrest the culprits behind them. He asked the court to direct the government to take special measures and strengthen the laws covering the kidnap, rape and killing of children.

IGP Nawaz, who was present in the courtroom, submitted an initial investigation report stating that the police were yet to arrest the suspect responsible for the heinous crimes. Special teams had been constituted to arrest the suspect behind the rape and murder of Zainab, he added.

Responding to a query, he said 11 minor girls had been abducted, raped and killed during the last two years. The police investigated 227 suspects and conducted DNA tests of 67 suspects, he said, adding that one person’s DNA had been traced in six cases of sexual assault.

The two-judge bench expressed astonishment that several similar cases had surfaced in Kasur, yet none of them had been brought to the court. If the police were not maintaining law and order, the CJ wondered, what they were up to.

He said what had happened to Zainab was a tragedy, which had stirred unrest in society. The CJ ordered the IGP to deploy all available police resources to arrest the suspect in the next 36 hours, and adjourned hearing till Jan 15.

Earlier on January 10, protests erupted in Kasur after Zainab’s body was found in a garbage heap. Autopsy reports revealed that the girl had been raped, tortured and then strangled to death. Zainab’s murder was the 12th incident of its kind reported in Kasur in a year.

The district neighbouring Lahore had made the headlines in 2015 after it was revealed that a gang of paedophiles had been running a child sex ring in the city.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2018