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Trial of Zainab murder case to begin today

10 February, 2018

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The trial of the suspected rapist and murderer of Kasur's six-year-old Zainab Amin will begin on Feb 10 in an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Lahore. The ATC today granted police 14-day judicial remand of the suspect after a detailed challan against him was submitted in court by the prosecution. Police had kept the suspect in physical remand for about 16 days today.

The suspect had first been remanded to police custody for 14 days following his arrest last month. The court had subsequently granted the police an additional three-day remand after he was nominated in seven other similar cases.

The deputy prosecutor general told the court that during the investigation, the suspect had confessed to his involvement in the rape and murder of seven children in Kasur, apart from Zainab.

He asked the court to remand the suspect to judicial custody as the police have completed their investigation.

ATC judge Sajjad Ahmed subsequently remanded the suspect to judicial custody and, on the deputy prosecutor general's advice, announced that the trial of the case would be held in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail. The prosecutor has also requested the court to hold the trial inside the jail for security reasons.

The ATC also said that that the verdict will be based on witness statements. The judge further said that hearings of the trial will be conducted on a daily basis and the case will be completed within seven days.

A three-member prosecution team comprising prosecutors Abdul Rauf Wattoo, Waqar Bhatti and Hafiz Asghar was formed by the Punjab prosecutor general.

Speaking to the media after the hearing, the defence lawyer claimed that there was no "solid proof" against the suspect and maintained that DNA evidence is not admissible in court. He declared that the suspect was innocent and would be acquitted by the court.

Zainab's rape and murder last month had sparked outrage across the country after the six-year-old, who went missing on Jan 4, was found dead in a trash heap in Kasur on Jan 9.

Her case is the 12th such incident to occur within a 10 kilometre radius in the city over the past year.

Police had confirmed on Jan 13 that the results of DNA testing of samples collected from the crime scenes pointed towards the involvement of one culprit in at least seven similar cases in the district.

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