LAHORE: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar revealed on Tuesday that the rapist-cum-killer of four children of Chunian had been arrested by the Punjab police and other law-enforcement agencies.

The chief minister at a hurriedly called press conference at his 8-Club Road office showed photographs of prime suspect Sohail Shahzad, 27, who, he said, had been arrested after his DNA matched the samples collected from the bodies of the children found killed in Chunian.

He said the DNA test of 1,543 suspects of the area was carried out and sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA). Shahzad had been arrested on the charges of kidnapping, raping and killing Imran, 12, Salman, 9, Ali Hasnain and Faizan, both 8. Of them, three children were residents of Chunian’s Ghosia Colony and one of Rana Town. The bodies were recovered from sand dunes in and around the Chunian Industrial Area.

Mr Buzdar said the youngster was involved in the murder of the four children and would be tried under anti-terrorism charges. The LEAs were interrogating him, he said. He also announced that the Safe City Authority project would be launched in Kasur.

The arrested man will be tried under anti-terror law

A senior police officer told Dawn that Sohail Shahzad had been working as an auto rickshaw driver for many years and he was convicted of rape many years ago. He was arrested first time in 2011 for raping a five-year-old boy of Rana Town and was held guilty of the charge during trial in court.

A case (36/11) had been registered against him in a local police station, the police official said.

The suspect had changed his profession after completing his jail term and started working at a tandoor in Chunian, he said. He said the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) obtained criminal record of the accused residing in Chunian and other adjoining areas from the police and got their DNA samples.

Shahzad was among them and the police were closely monitoring his suspicious activities in the area after the incident of rape and murder of four children came to the fore.

The incident sparked anguish in Chunian tehsil where violent protests erupted when it hit the headlines.

Mobs vandalised a police station, a DSP’s office, a petrol pump and a hospital and traders observed shutter-down strike and joined the protesters. The lawyers also boycotted court proceedings to express their solidarity with the bereaved families.

Kasur has been rocked by ghastly incidents of rape and killing of children in the last few years. In January 2018, six-year-old Zainab Ansari was found dead on a trash heap near Shahbaz Khan Road five days after she went missing. The prime suspect, Imran Ali, had been arrested on Jan 23 and on June 12, the Supreme Court turned down his appeal against the death sentence.

Kasur correspondent Afzal Ansari contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2019