LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced on Tuesday that his administration had arrested the man responsible for the sexual assault and murder of seven-year-old Zainab Ansari from Kasur.
Zainab was abducted from her hometown on Jan. 4. Her body was found in a rubbish dump on Jan. 9.
The incident caused outrage across the country because of the perceived lack of action on the part of authorities. She was reportedly the 12th child to have been murdered in, or around, Kasur in the past year.
Addressing a news conference in Lahore, Sharif said Ali had confessed to his crimes during a polygraph test, adding that DNA evidence also confirmed the suspect, 24-year-old Imran Ali, was involved in the sexual assault and murder of several other children in Kasur.
He praised the “untiring efforts” of the Joint Investigation Team and other government agencies for catching the “serial killer” within 14 days of the discovery of Zainab’s body.
A representative of the Punjab Forensic Science Agency shared the results of the DNA test with the media, explaining how it had definitively established that Imran Ali was the killer.
Sharif said that an anti-terrorism court would hear Zainab’s case and provide “speedy justice” to her family. He also acknowledged that the killer should have been arrested earlier.
Earlier in the day, Malik Ahmed Khan, a spokesman for the government of Punjab, told Arab News that the suspect was arrested in the central Punjab district of Pakpattan.
He said it had been difficult to track down the suspect because he had moved around a lot and disguised his appearance.
“He modified his look,” Khan told Arab News. “Sometimes he wore glasses, other times he shaved his beard.”
Ali reportedly lives in the same street as Zainab’s parents. He had previously been detained for questioning but was released due to insufficient evidence against him.
After Zainab’s murder, the Punjab government formed a joint investigation team that interviewed around 1,100 people, many of whom had their DNA tested.
Sharif had also announced a reward of 10 million rupees for anyone who could provide information on Zainab’s killer.
Zainab’s father also addressed the media yesterday, saying he was satisfied that the authorities had finally arrested his daughter’s murderer.
Source: Arab News