An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Wednesday sentenced Imran Ali — who is currently incarcerated and on death-row for the rape and murder of six-year-old Zainab Amin — to life imprisonment on three counts for the rape and murder of one other girl.
The verdict was announced by Justice Sajjad Ahmed of the ATC after listening to the arguments presented by prosecutor Abdul Rauf Watto.
Ali, from Kasur, was found to be involved in at least nine incidents of rape-cum-murder of minors, including Zainab, which he had confessed to during her murder investigation. The court has so far announced the verdicts on 7 children, including in Zainab's case. Two more cases remain pending against Ali.
Ali was found guilty under sections 364-A (kidnapping or abducting a person under the age of fourteen), 377, 324 (qatl-i-amd), 336 and 411 of the Pakistan Penal Code and section 7(c) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
According to the judgement, Ali has been sentenced to imprisonment for life on three counts, sentenced to ten years prison on two counts, and sentenced to three years prison on one count. He has also been fined Rs3.55 million and ordered to pay Rs2.05 million as diyat to the family.
On Saturday, he was handed the death penalty on 12 counts for the rape and murder of three other girls. In another trial held inside a prison, an ATC on Monday handed Ali the death penalty on five more counts for the rape and murder of two other girls.
Zainab's rape and murder earlier this year had sparked outrage and protests across the country after the six-year-old, who went missing on January 4, was found dead in a trash heap in Kasur on January 9. Her case was the twelfth such incident to occur within a 10 kilometre radius in the city over a 12-month period.
The heinous nature of the crime had seen immediate riots break out in Kasur — in which two people were killed — while #JusticeforZainab became a rallying cry for an end to violence against children. The Punjab government had declared the arrest of Ali, the prime suspect, on January 23.
On June 12, the Supreme Court rejected Ali's appeal against the death sentence handed to him for the rape and murder of Zainab, noting that the petitioner had admitted committing similar offences with eight other minor victims and "in that backdrop, he did not deserve any sympathy in the matter of his sentences".
Ali had filed the appeal challenging the death sentence handed to him in February, claiming his trial was not fair. He still has the right to seek clemency from President Mamnoon Hussain.