LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Tuesday awarded life imprisonment to three suspects in one of the cases registered against them for their involvement in the Kasur child abuse scandal of 2015.

ATC-IV judge Chaudhry Muhammad Ilyas announced the sentence in the presence of the suspects and also imposed fine of Rs500,000 each on Haseem Amir, Waseem Sindhi and Aleem Asif.

Ganda Singhwala police of Kasur had registered the cases against the suspects and others on charges of abducting and sexually assaulting around 280 children of the district. The prosecution had accused them of sexually assaulting minor boys and filming the incidents to blackmail them.

Lawyers of the suspects stated that police had implicated their clients in cases on government pressure. The suspects had no role in the child abuse incidents. They had already been convicted in some of the first information reports (FIRs) and acquitted in some others by a trial court. Police had registered nine cases against over a dozen suspects.

Previously, the court had awarded life imprisonment to Faizan Majeed and Haseem Amir in another FIR in the scandal and acquitted them in another giving benefit of the doubt.

In some of the cases, the trial court had deleted Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act from the FIRs and referred the trials of the suspects to sessions court. However, the Lahore High Court on the appeal of the prosecution set aside the decision and restored the terrorism provision.

ZAINAB CASE: The lawyer of Kasur serial killer withdrew his power of attorney after the suspect confessed to raping and killing nine minor girls, including seven-year-old Zainab Amin.

“I accepted the brief of Imran Ali as he insisted on his innocence,” said Advocate Mehar Shakeel Multani talking to the media outside Kot Lakhpat jail where an ATC was holding trial of the suspect.

He told the media that he withdrew his power of attorney since the suspect had confessed to the crime in court. “I have been misled by the suspect,” he said, adding that he could not defend a criminal.

Meanwhile, ATC judge Sajjad Ahmad recorded statements of 16 more prosecution witnesses during an 11-hour jail trial.

The court is holding the trial on a day-to-day basis to conclude the case within a week as ordered by the Lahore High Court.

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2018