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    Tuesday, 23 January 2018

    Kasur police claim to arrest main suspect of Zainab case

    A senior police official has confirmed to South Punjab News that the suspect arrested on Tuesday is the culprit in the rape and murder of eight-year-old Zainab in Kasur.

    Further information will be shared by the Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif in a press conference this evening.
    The suspect, identified as Imran Ali, had been arrested for his alleged involvement in the rape and murder of eight-year-old Zainab in Kasur, police officials confirmed.
    People reportedly started gathering outside his residence while a heavy contingent of police was deployed at and around his house to respond to any untoward situation.
    The spokesperson for Punjab government Malik Ahmad Khan said that the suspect’s DNA has been sent for confirmation.
    According to South Punjab News, police officials claimed that he has confessed to the crime.
    He had previously been arrested in the case but was released.
    The Supreme Court on Sunday gave a 72-hour deadline to Punjab police chief to arrest suspects involved in the rape and murder of Zainab and at least eight other children of Kasur district.
    Zainab was kidnapped on January 4 from near her aunt’s house in Kasur. Her body was discovered five days later from a garbage heap. The post-mortem report revealed that she had been raped and murdered.
    The news of the abduction, rape, and brutal murder of the eight-year-old shook the nation and triggered mass protests against police inaction in Kasur and other cities across the country.
    At least two people were killed, allegedly by police firing, and several others injured as enraged residents attempted to storm the deputy commissioner’s office soon after the news broke earlier this month.
    Uproar on mainstream and social media led to DPO Zulfiqar Hameed’s suspension, sou motu notices taken by the chief justices of the Supreme Court and the Lahore High Court, and condemnation from all corners including civilian and military leaders.
    The horrendous event brought flashbacks of the tormenting ordeal children in Kasur have had to go through for the past several years.The man arrested for Zainab’s murder was not only close to her family but was also helping them when they were searching for her when she went missing earlier this month.

    Imran Ali, 24, was a frequent visitor to the minor’s house.
    A mechanic by profession, the prime suspect also participated in the protests held against Zainab’s murder.
    Imran was picked up earlier by the police, but was released after Zainab’s family intervened, identifying him as someone familiar and trusted.
    The suspect’s father was mentally unstable who passed away last month. He has two brothers and three sisters.
    His two DNA tests were carried out on January 14 and January 20.Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif addressed a press conferencein Lahore Tuesday night to formally announce the arrest of a key suspect in the rape and murder case of six-year-old Zainab Amin.
    Zainab's suspected murderer and rapist is a 23-year-old man named Imran Ali, Sharif announced. The suspect is a serial killer based in Kasur who is accused of raping and murdering 6-7 girls over the course of two years.
    A photo of the suspect, Imran, that has been circulating on the internet.
    A photo of the suspect, Imran, that has been circulating on the internet.
    "Our collective effort has borne fruit and the murderer has been arrested," a triumphant Sharif announced to loud applause.
    The Punjab CM thanked various ministers, officials and civilian and military intelligence agencies for tracking down the rapist after a 14-day effort.
    He said DNA samples from 1,150 people were profiled and once the culprit was caught, his DNA matched a "100 per cent" with the samples collected from the crime scene.
    Sharif also said the suspect was given a polygraph test earlier today, which leaves only 5pc doubt as to his culpability. However, he said the suspect had "accepted all of his deeds" during the test which removed any remaining doubt.
    The case "is an example for the nation that when we unite, we can achieve anything", Sharif said.
    He said while the first phase of the investigation has been completed with the identification of the suspect, the second was to bring this "beast" to justice.
    "If it were up to me, as a person who understands some of [Zainab's father's] pain, I would want him hanged on the chowk [square]," the chief minister said, adding that he will request the chief justice of Lahore High Court (LHC) to ensure that the culprit is made an example of.
    "If the law allows, he [the rapist] should be hanged at the square."
    Sharif said had it not been for the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA), the suspect would not have been caught. He said a DNA matching conducted for the second time had confirmed that the arrested suspect is the only culprit.

    Residents surround suspect's house

    Earlier in the day, Kasur had turned tense as residents surrounded the house of the suspect, Imran, after police said they had arrested him in connection with Zainab's rape and murder.
    According to police sources, the suspect's DNA matched samples taken from the crime scene, but the Punjab government had left it to the chief minister to make a formal announcement.
    As a mob began gathering the suspect's house, police also reached the area urging people to remain calm in order to avoid any untoward incident. Television footage showed a contingent of police in riot gear deployed to secure the surrounding area.
    Police sources earlier told South Punjab News that Imran is a resident of the same area where Zainab's house is located, and lives very close to the victim's aunt's house.
    His appearance matched that of an individual seen with Zainab in CCTV footage recovered by police, according to the sources.
    He was arrested as part of the investigation much earlier, but was let go, the sources said, following which he fled Kasur.
    Malik Ahmed Khan, a spokesperson for the Punjab government, told South Punjab News that the suspect had now been arrested from Pakpattan.
    Khan, citing police, said that the suspect used to frequently disguise his appearance. "Sometimes he would keep a beard, sometimes he would wear spectacles, and he would change his clothes," Khan said, adding that some of the suspect's accomplices are also in police custody.
    He said that all other suspects who had been arrested earlier were released when DNA reports cleared them.
    On January 4, Zainab had gone missing after leaving her house on Kasur's Road Kot area for her maternal aunt's house a few minutes away for religious lessons.
    A few days later, the victim's body was recovered from a trash heap. An autopsy confirmed that she was strangled to death. It also suggested that she had been raped before being killed.
    Police had confirmed on January 13 that the results of DNA tests carried out in the wake of the rape and murder of Zainab in Kasur, indicated the involvement of one culprit in at least seven similar cases that occurred in the district over the past year.
    Zainab's rape and murder had sparked outrage in Kasur and across the country. The day her body was found, protesters had taken to the streets in Kasur, agitating against perceived police inaction.
    The police had gone into overdrive, scrambling for leads to solve the heinous crime. Earlier, the investigation team formed to probe the crime had arrested a 23-year-old suspect. However, he was released  after a DNA report cleared him.
    What do we know about the suspect so far?
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