Defence counsel of Zainab's alleged killer withdraws from representation

LAHORE: The defence counsel of the suspect in the Zainab rape and murder case informed the judge that after the suspect’s confession, his conscience cannot permit him to represent a hardened criminal.

Anti-Terrorism Court-I (ATC) Judge Sajjad Ahmad is conducting the trial inside the Kot Lakhpat Jail, where the primary suspect, Imran Ali, is jailed on remand.

Seven-year-old Zainab was kidnapped from near her aunt’s house in Kasur on January 4 and found dead in a garbage heap five days later. On January 23, the authorities claimed to have nabbed the suspect, a serial killer involved in other such crimes, through a DNA match.

Following the defence counsel’s withdrawal today, the Punjab prosecutor general assigned Imran a government lawyer, Mohammad Sultan.

A total of 36 witnesses have recorded their statements in the case so far, including Zainab’s paternal uncle and five-year-old brother.

Imran’s statement is expected to be recorded tomorrow after the statements of all the witnesses have been recorded today.

Imran had confessed to the crime on the first day of the trial after his indictment.

Punjab Prosecutor General Ehtesham Qadir is assisting the ATC as per the orders of the superior courts.

A total of 56 witnesses have been named in the case.

On Monday, ATC Judge had indicted Imran and recorded the statements of 20 witnesses.

The Lahore High Court has directed the ATC to wrap up the trial within seven days of the suspect’s indictment.

Imran was arrested on January 23. His DNA also matched samples taken from seven other minor girls who were abused and murdered earlier in Kasur, according to the police.
After the police arrested Imran, the suspect reportedly confessed to assaulting eight minor girls at an under-construction site and two others in a garbage heap in Kasur.