ISLAMABAD: The Sup­reme Court on Tuesday took the Khyber Pakhtun­khwa police to task for their failure to arrest the killer of four-year-old Asma.

“We have heard a lot that KP police have become very efficient in the province, but your incapability has made you dependent on others that is why a lot of time is being consumed,” regretted Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.

Taking a suo motu notice of the rape and murder of the minor girl in Mardan on Jan 14, a three-judge SC bench headed by the chief justice had sought reports from the KP police chief on the tragic incident.

During the hearing, the murder of a third-year medical student — also named Asma — who was killed outside her home in Kohat for rejecting a marriage proposal, also caught the attention of the chief justice who directed the KP inspector general to submit a comprehensive report also suggesting measures to repatriate the killer who had fled the country soon after killing the girl.

Media reports suggested that the girl before her death had named Mujahidullah Afridi, a nephew of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Kohat president, as the prime suspect.

“What is going around, why police failed to prevent the murder of Aasma who was killed publicly in broad daylight,” the chief justice regretted.

About the Mardan case, Deputy Inspector General (Region) Mohammad Aalim Shinwari informed the apex court that the body of the minor girl was recovered by her family on Jan 14 from a field, whereas her DNA samples were sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) on Jan 17. The results of DNA profiling are expected by the end of this week, he said.

“This is a blind case since no evidence is available,” the DIG said, adding that there was no political interference or pressure from the PTI on the police.

The chief justice directed the court office to contact Dr Ashraf of the PFSA and asked him when the results would be ready.

When the chief justice asked why no DNA testing facility was available in KP, he was told that Khyber Medical College would soon establish such laboratory.

The DIG said a joint investigation team consisting of representatives from the Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau, Special Branch and Counter-Terrorism Department had also been constituted to probe the grisly murder. At the request of the prosecutor, the police have also added offences under the Anti-Terrorism Act to the case.

When the DIG conceded that the provincial police had not succeeded in arresting the culprit though they interrogated 350 suspects, the chief justice said the police had failed.

Mr Shinwari said the police had collected 218 samples for DNA matching, but they had not been dispatched rather preserved in the laboratories of Bacha Khan Medical College.

The chief justice said the court would ensure that the PFSA cooperated with the KP police and finalised the test reports as early as possible.

The court also regretted reports that the Punjab police had demanded Rs10,000 for the recovery of minor girl Zainab who was raped and murdered in Kasur.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2018