A model court in Karachi sentenced a man to death on Monday, after finding him guilty of abducting, raping and killing a six-year-old girl in 2006.
Muhammad Irshad had abducted the minor girl from Gulistan-i-Jauhar and subjected her to rape before strangulating her to death.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Haleem Ahmed of the model criminal trial court (East) announced the verdict, which had earlier been reserved, after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.
The judge handed down the death sentence to Irshad on three counts. The convict, who was produced during the hearing, was remanded to the prison to serve his sentence.
According to the prosecution, the six-year-old girl went missing on October 9, 2006, after going out of her house.
Later, her friend told the victim’s parents that one Muhammad Irshad had asked the child to come to an open plot in the evening where he would give her toys.
The parents of the missing girl filed a case and Irshad was subsequently arrested, the prosecution said.
In 2012, the trial court had awarded life imprisonment to the convict. However, the Federal Shariat Court in 2014 remanded the case back for re-trial.
State prosecutor Anwar Mahar contended that there was sufficient evidence to connect the role of the convict with the commissioning of the offence alleged by the prosecution. He pleaded to the court to punish the convict strictly in accordance with the law.
However, defence counsel Zubair Rajput said his client was innocent and falsely implicated in the case. He requested the court to acquit his client.
A case was registered under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 364-A (kidnapping or abducting a person under the age of fourteen) and 376 (punishment for rape) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Gulistan-i-Jauhar police station.
In August, a report by the NGO Sahil had revealed that as many as 1,489 children, at least eight per day, were sexually abused in the first half of the ongoing year in the country. The victims included 785 girls and 704 boys.
The abusers were acquaintances of the victims or victims’ families in 822 cases while strangers were involved in 135 reported cases, according to the report titled 'Cruel Numbers'.
The report said that in 98 cases, the victims were between the age of one to five years; in 331 cases, they were between six and 10 years of age; while the largest number of cases (490) involved victims between 11 to 15 years of age.