An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Lahore on Monday sentenced a man to life in prison on two counts for the rape and murder of a six-year-old girl.
The convict, 26-year-old Babar, was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs200,000.
Judge Abdul Qayyum Khan of the special ATC issued the verdict after hearing final arguments from the defence and the prosecution.
The court recorded the statements of a total of 14 witnesses during the course of the proceedings. The state was represented in the case by Advocate Mian Tufail.
A case had been registered against the convict on charges of rape and murder at Muridke Saddar police station.
Rise in child abuse cases
A report released by the NGO Sahil had revealed in August that cases of child abuse increased by 32 per cent in the first six months of 2018 compared to the first half of 2017.
The report found that a total of 2,322 child abuse cases were reported by newspapers in all four provinces, as well as Islamabad, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. In comparison, 1,764 such incidents were reported from January to June 2017.
One of the authors of the report, Mamtaz Gohar had told Dawn that although child abuse cases were expected to fall in the wake of the Zainab rape and murder case, they had unfortunately increased.
“However, another view is that the Zainab murder case gave victims’ families courage to speak out rather than hide incidents of sexual abuse. The good thing is that, soon after that case, a drastic change has been noticed in the attitude and behaviour of families towards such cases,” he said.
Imran Ali, who was convicted for the rape and murder of six-year-old Zainab in Kasur earlier this year, was executed in October.