Lahore High Court on Monday issued a notice to the Punjab home secretary to appear before the bench tomorrow [Tuesday] for the hearing on the appeal regarding public hanging of Imran Ali.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Sardar Shamim Ahmed and Justice Shehbaz Rizvi, was hearing the petition of Amin Ansari — father of seven-year-old Zainab who was raped and murdered in Kasur — for the public hanging of his daughter's killer.

"The convict is a serial killer and will be hanged day after tomorrow [Wednesday]," said Advocate Ishtiaq Chaudhry in court.

The bench issued a notice to the Punjab home secretary to appear in court tomorrow.

In a writ petition filed on Saturday, Ansari submitted that all appeals of the convict had been dismissed by available legal forums — the high court, Supreme Court and president of Pakistan. He said the trial court had also issued death warrants of the convict for Oct 17.

He had stated that Section 22 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 empowered the government to hang a convict publicly, complaining that the government was not complying with the law available on the subject.

The petitioner has asked the court to order the government to ensure that the convict is hanged publicly to satisfy the requirement of deterrence in society. Previously, the high court on a similar petition by Amin had referred the matter to the government.

On death row

On Friday, an anti-terrorism court had issued death warrants for the convict’s execution in Kot Lakhpat jail. The court directed the jail superintendent to execute the warrants and submit a compliance report.

The ATC had on Feb 17, 2018, handed down death sentence on four counts to the 24-year-old convict, following a four-day jail trial at Kot Lakhpat Central Jail.

The death penalty was handed down under four sections of laws including 364-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) (kidnapping a person under the age of fourteen), 376 of the PPC (rape), 302-B of the PPC (murder) and section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 (for terrorising society by an act).

The court had further awarded life imprisonment to the convict under section 377 of PPC (unnatural offence/sodomy) and seven-year jail term under section 201 of PPC (dumping the dead body). The court had also imposed a fine of Rs1 million on the convict to be paid to legal heirs of the victim, in addition to a collective fine of Rs3.2m imposed under different sections of law.

Justice for Zainab

Zainab's rape and murder in January had sparked outrage and protests across the country after the minor was found dead in a trash heap in Kasur, with #JusticeforZainab becoming a rallying cry for an end to violence against children.

Her case was the twelfth such incident to occur within a 10 kilometre radius in the city over a 12-month period.

Following intense pressure, the Punjab government had declared the arrest of Ali, the prime suspect, on January 23.

Imran had filed the appeal challenging the death sentence handed to him in February, claiming his trial was not fair.

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".

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