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Justice for Zainab has been achieved but public execution would set an alarming precedent.


After what has been deemed the swiftest murder trial in Pakistan's history,  Imran Ali the serial killer who raped and murdered 7 year old Zainab after kidnapping her within the city of Kasur, was sentenced with four death penalties within a week of the initiation of the trial. Read original story (click here)

Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Sajjad Ahmed issued the order at Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore at which his trial was heard. Judge Sajjad also separately sentenced Imran Ali to life imprisonment and a 7 year term, in addition to a federal fine of 3.1 million rupees and a compensatory fine of 1million rupees to be paid to the family of Zainab.  The two fines will claw back the illegal earning Imran Ali made through paedophile snuff videos of the children he raped and murdered.

Judge Sajjad awarded Imran Ali the death penalty under section 7 (a) of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and imposed separate fines  of 1 million rupees under Section 364-A (kidnapping) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and 1 million rupees under Section 376 (rape) PPC. Mr Ali will have to pay 1 million rupees to the family of Zainab as compensation under Section 302-B (murder) PPC.

Ali was also given life imprisonment under Section 377 PPC (unnatural offence-whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal) with an additional fine of 1 million rupees.
Imran Ali was also sentenced to 7 years imprisonment under Section 201 PPC (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) along with a fine of 100,000 rupees.
The 85 page Anti-Terrorism-Court report written in the wake of the judgement, expressed the overwhelming evidence that pointed to Imran Ali's guilt.  It said:

“In light of forensic evidence, the DNA reports, photographic test and medical evidence, the court is of the firm view that prosecution has successfully established its case through its own evidence against the accused beyond any shadow of doubt,” 

On 4th January 2018, Zainab Ansari was kidnapped from a location close to her aunt's home. Local Police were accused of a lackluster investigation until CCTV footage caught a suspect walking away with Zainab began to proliferate through various social media sites including Facebook and Twitter. Five days after her abduction Zainab's corpse was found naked on a rubbish pile.  Huge demonstrations occurred across Pakistan after images of her dead body began to circulate through social media.  At the largest protest in Kasur 2 people were shot dead as Police lost control of a riot situation outside their headquarters.  The riot is said to have been triggered after other parents purporting to have lost children in the same manner shared there stories publicly, revealing police incompetence and apathy.

During a more fervent police action after Chief Minister of the Punjab ordered a more robust investigation DNA samples of 1,187 people were collected from 12th January to  23rd January as the tried to trace the perpetrator of what was emerging as a serial-murder spree. Read arrest story (click here)

As news of the crime made international headlines police arrested Imran Ali, a local neighbour of Zainab;s family and made a public announcement confirming that his DNA a total of 8 victims including Zainab.

On 24th January Imran Ali was brought before the Anti-Terrorism Court where he was remanded for custody with a 'Joint Investigation Team'.  He was also questioned whilst being monitored by a polygraph machine (lie-detector) which established that his involvement in the murders.

On hearing the courts verdict the family of Zainab expressed their satisfaction however they also demanded that a public execution take place, which is not the usual practice in Pakistan. 

Zainab’s mother Nusrat Amin spoke to the press on Saturday, Express News, wrote:

“We agree with the judge’s verdict, but we still demand that he [Imran Ali] should be hanged in public… he should be hanged at the same place where he took our child,” she said.
Zainab’s uncle thanked the media for supporting the family and highlighting the issue. Expressing satisfaction over the court verdict, he said the convict must be hanged in front of public ‘so the whole world could watch’.

“Our demand is just and in accordance with the teachings of Islam… and if the demand of amending the Constitution for the public execution of the culprit is met then nobody would even think about committing such a sin.”

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:

"Somehow what seems to be forgotten in the fury is that Imran Ali's actions were feeding more than his own depraved appetites. With these these horrific crimes Mr Ali produced pornographic images that feed a lucrative industry in Pakistan and indeed worldwide.

"The judge's order of a fine or compensation to the family aside, the audience that creates the demand for the footage still exists in Pakistan and little has been done to address that.

"Clearly this is not the first time this kind of sexual violence has been demonstrably seen in Pakistan and to suggest as such is to suggest that other very real girls and woman - particularly those from minority faiths that have been victimized are to be treated like  figments of our collective imagination and are not entitled to the same justice being administered for Zanaib."

In these cases after the maiming violence of a sexual assault or the precipitous murder of a loved one, the victimized Christian family is ignored by police and harassed by the perpetrator and his family for "reconciliation," which is essentially a buy off  that treats the innocent victim as on par with a prostitute trafficked in a brothel or a piece of meat purchased from a butcher shop. Families of the deceased are  left to wrap up the pieces of their shattered lives and bury their dead. 

"In this way minorities who are victims of crime and their families are bullied into a practice of shariah law and not afforded any opportunity for justice in the courts. Even if criminals have been charged, police will join in the pressure and take bribes and blood money to protect the perpetrator from prosecution selling out their duty to constitutional law.  No one should profit from the suffering of another human being especialy those given a position of authority and a responsibility to protect."

Mr Chowdhry, added:

"Zainab's father, Muhammad Amin Ansari insisted that the initial primary investigator of Zainab's murder, who was Amadhi, be replaced and not be allowed to to be part of the investigative team. Though this bigotry could be overlooked in lieu of his grief it highlights the fact that Muslims from the majority are given special treament when they make demands or are somehow deemed morally superior.

It also goes to show that her grieving father had some concern that the case assignment to a person of minority faith indicated to him that his daughter's rape and murder weren't being taken seriously by the police who had already let several other murders by the same man occur without a reasonable investigation to catch the killer. For this Amadhi investigator it may actually be a blessing in disguise as he could have been set up as a scapegoat for a further botched investigation. 

Speaking about calls for a public execution, Mr Chowdhry raised serious concerns that such action would ony exacerbate exitising social malaise in Pakistan, he said:

"The calls for a public hanging are a cause of  great concern. Though BPCA does not have a specific position on the death penalty when enforced by the state, we at BPCA are concerned about the blood lust this change in precedent to how executions are enacted would mean for a country already immersed in a cesspool of violence. 

"The state is also being asked to enforce a shariah practice in the court system, not because of a desire for rule of law but rather a sanction for the desire of the mob and no good can come of it. 

"So many of the stories that we have reported over the years indicate that a mob mentality and blood lust seen in virtually every neighbourhood across Pakistan is enacted upon minorities without impunity. Gang rapes and precipitous attacks leading to slander, charges and death are undertaken for little more than asking a question or a desire to quench a basic human need like thirst. 

"The state must act responsibly, they have enacted justice through the courts they must now find a pragmatic solution to quell the anger and frustration that the murder of Zainab has ignited in Pakistan, one that does not pander to the whims of  those incensed, but seeks to bring solace and peace to a broken nation."

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