LAHORE: The Joint Investigation Team is once again groping in the dark to find the culprit in Zainab case after the DNA report cleared the suspect arrested recently by Lahore police.

The report issued by the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) cleared 23-year-old suspect Umar Farooq on Monday.

The JIT formed by the Punjab government to investigate the case had dispatched the samples of the suspect to the PFSA for DNA analysis a week ago.

According to sources, the Punjab police high-ups were hoping breakthrough in the case as the suspect during interrogation had “confessed to his crime”.

A senior police official privy to the investigation process told Dawn the suspect was taken into custody by a police team in a ‘massive raid’ conducted in Cantonment area of Lahore a week back.

The “arrest” came after the city police authorities were tipped off by an informer that a suspect having close resemblance to the sketch of the man shown in Zainab’s CCTV footage was seen near Bhatta Chowk.

After recce, he said, a police contingent conducted raid at Bhatta Chowk and picked the suspect. He was taken to an undisclosed place where he was interrogated by some senior police officers.

He said the South Cantt station house officer had also prepared his confessional statement before presenting him to the high-ups.

Interestingly, the SHO in his report also gave reference of a call made by Umar’s aunt on his (Umar) mobile phone.

During the conversation, she had also discussed Zainab’s abduction and rape, quoting the SHO’s report, the police official said.

During interrogation, the Lahore police officers concerned came to know that the suspect was previously a resident of the same area where Zainab’s parents lived and was presently living in Bhatta Chowk area.

The revelation further strengthened their suspicion that the suspect might have been involved in the crime.

Expecting “a breakthrough”, they handed over the suspect in strict custody to Kasur police for further interrogation as the JIT was investigating the case there.

Following the clearance of the suspect in the DNA report, the police official said, the JIT members decided to explore more leads to trace the wanted man.

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2018

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