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Main culprit of Zainab case arrested

24 January, 2018

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LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif addressed a press conference in Lahore Tuesday night to formally announce the arrest of a key suspect in the rape and murder case of seven-year-old Zainab Amin.

Zainab’s suspected murderer and rapist is a 23-year-old man named Imran, Sharif announced. The suspect is a serial killer based in Kasur. “Our collective effort has borne fruit and the murderer has been arrested,” a triumphant Sharif announced to loud applause. “I wish to hang this beast in public at chowk but we are bound by the law and I request the chief justice of the Lahore High Court that this case be heard in the anti-terrorism court.”

The Punjab CM thanked various ministers, officials and members of intelligence agencies for tracking down the rapist.

He said DNA samples from 1,150 people were profiled and once the culprit was caught, his DNA match was a “100 percent” with the evidence collected from the crime scene.

Sharif also said the suspect was given a polygraph test earlier, “which leaves only 5pc doubt” as to his culpability. He said the suspect had “accepted all of his deeds”.

Earlier in the day, Kasur turned tense as residents surrounded the house of a suspect that the police said they had arrested in connection with Zainab’s rape and murder.

According to police sources, the suspect’s DNA matches samples taken from the crime scene, but the Punjab government had left it to 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.

According to police sources, the suspect arrested earlier in the day was a resident of the same area where Zainab’s house was located, and lived very close to the victim’s aunt’s house.

His appearance matches 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 a private news channel that the suspect had now been arrested from Pakpattan.

“We have found some initial evidence [against the suspect] and there is well-found reason to believe that he is the culprit,” the spokesperson said.

Khan, citing police, said that the suspect used to frequently change his appearance. “Sometimes he would keep a beard, sometimes he would wear spectacles, and he would change the way he was dressed,” Khan said, adding that some of the suspect’s accomplices were also in police custody.

The provincial government spokesperson 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 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.

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