Murderer, rapist of six-year-old girl hanged in Pakistan

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Imran Ali, 24, who was arrested after Zainab Ansari’s body was found in a garbage dump in Kasur, located more than 50kms away from Lahore, was executed in Kot Lakhpat jail at 5.30am. (AFP/File)
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Imran Ali, 24, who was arrested after Zainab Ansari’s body was found in a garbage dump in Kasur, located more than 50kms away from Lahore, was executed in Kot Lakhpat jail at 5.30am. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 17 October 2018
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Murderer, rapist of six-year-old girl hanged in Pakistan

  • Imran Ali was convicted of raping and killing Zainab Ansari in Kasur, near Lahore
  • The girl's parents were in Saudi Arabia for Umrah at the time of the horrific crime

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Pakistan’s government hanged a man on Wednesday for raping and murdering a six-year-old girl.
Imran Ali, 24, who was arrested after Zainab Ansari’s body was found in a garbage dump in Kasur, more than 50 km away from Lahore, was executed in Kot Lakhpat jail, Lahore, at 5.30 a.m.
Officials handed over Ali’s body to his family for the last rites to be performed in Kasur.
Speaking to the local media soon after the execution, Zainab’s father, Amin Ansari, told Arab News: “Justice is served. I am satisfied … We are relieved today that the criminal has finally met his fate. The whole family is devastated. We miss our daughter … We can’t believe, even today, that she is no longer with us.”
The murder that shook the nation began on Jan. 4, when Zainab left her house for Qur’an studies at a madrassa nearby. Her parents were away in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah, leaving her under the supervision of her aunt.
Unable to trace her whereabouts, Zainab’s uncle lodged a complaint with the police about his missing niece the next day. Four days later, on Jan. 9, Zainab’s body was recovered from a dumping ground.
The gruesome rape and murder led to nationwide protests, with people taking to social media to express outrage over the incident. It resulted in #JusticeForZainab becoming one of the top trends on Twitter at the time. Riots also broke out in the Kasur district after Zainab’s battered body was recovered, with people urging law enforcement agencies to bring the culprit to book.
Then Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif constituted a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe and resolve the case. “I will not rest until justice has been served to the affected family,” he said at the time.
The high-profile nature of the case brought several law enforcement agencies together; and amid pressure from civil society groups and the media, police were able to arrest Ali two weeks after the incident.
They had relied on CCTV footage that showed Zainab walking with Ali in a neighborhood alleyway. The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) was called upon to identify the suspect based on a sketch, but failed to deliver any leads. Using the DNA tests of 1,150 men between the ages of 20 and 45 who matched the suspect’s age and were living within 2 km of Zainab’s house, the JIT finally zeroed in on Ali.
Ali had already been detained by the police in the initial stages of the case, but was released after Zainab’s family had intervened, reasoning that he was someone they knew and trusted. He further cemented their conviction by joining the team leading the search for Zainab.
Following his arrest, investigators conducted two other tests on Ali before confirming his involvement in Zainab’s rape and murder and those of four other girls from the same locality.
With all his appeals for clemency rejected by the superior courts and the president, Ali was finally convicted in February this year after a four-day trial.
Zainab’s father, who was present at the jail to witness Ali’s execution, said: “He didn’t look remorseful or ask for forgiveness. Perhaps he was aware of the gravity of the crime he had committed.”
Ansari had appealed to the Lahore High Court to publicly hang Ali as a lesson to others, but his request was denied. “Zainab cannot come back, but we hope that her killer’s execution will serve as a strong deterrent in the society,” he said.
Zainab’s murder was one among 12 to take place in Kasur since last year.
In 2015, a gang of pedophiles was arrested following allegations that it was responsible for abducting and sexually assaulting more than 280 children in the area.


Suicide bombers in deadly attack on Afghan ministry

Updated 33 min 25 sec ago
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Suicide bombers in deadly attack on Afghan ministry

  • At least 7 people were killed in the attack on the Afghan communications ministry in Kabul
  • The area around the building was sealed off by police as at least 3 attackers battled security forces for several hours

KABUL: Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the communications ministry in central Kabul on Saturday, officials said, in a deadly, hours-long assault that destroyed weeks of relative calm in the capital.
The Taliban said it had “nothing to do” with the attack, which left some 2,000 people stranded in the tall office building for hours at the start of the Afghan work week.
No other group claimed immediate responsibility, but the Afghan branch of Daesh has previously carried out multiple deadly attacks in the capital.
“As a result of today’s explosion/attack in Kabul city, two people have been martyred (killed) and 6 others are wounded,” the health ministry spokesman wrote in a tweet, adding 3 of the injured were women.
In a statement, the interior ministry said four civilians and three soldiers had been killed, though unverified social media posts suggested the final toll could be higher.
AFP journalists heard one big blast around 11:40 am (0710 GMT), followed by sporadic gunfire for hours afterwards.
“The information that we have is four attackers have placed themselves near the communication ministry and are engaged in gunbattles with the Afghan security forces,” Amanduddin Shariati, a security official in Kabul told AFP.
By about 5:00 p.m. (1230 GMT), the interior ministry declared the assault over.
“Operations finished. All suicide bombers killed & more than 2000 civilians staff rescued,” the ministry said on Twitter.
Panicked workers inside the 18-story building, believed to be Kabul’s tallest, moved up to the top floor as gunmen and Afghan security officials battled lower down.
One woman said she had been in a group of about 30 people on the 10th floor when the assault started, then was told to move up to the 18th floor as gunfire increased. They were all eventually rescued by commandos.
“Women were screaming and children of the kindergarten were the first to be evacuated,” the woman, who did not want to be named, told AFP.
Afghan authorities gave conflicting reports during the incident. The information ministry initially said three suicide bombers had attacked a post office building at the ministry.
General Sayed Mohammad Roshan Dil, the Kabul police chief, said four attackers had been wearing police uniforms and had targeted a shrine near the ministry.
Footage on local television showed a small plume at the building, and people climbing out windows on a lower level.
The presidential palace said in a statement “the enemies of Afghanistan have conducted a terrorist attack.”
“Once again they have created fear and have killed or wounded a number of innocent countrymen,” the statement read.
The communication ministry is located in downtown Kabul, about two kilometers (1.25 miles) from the green zone, a heavily fortified compound for foreign embassies.
The area is the city’s main commercial zone and is home to a large hotel.
Aside from a grenade attack on a military vehicle last week and persistent crime, the capital has in recent weeks enjoyed a period of relative calm.
Last year however saw a string of attacks including one where a massive bomb concealed in an ambulance killed more than 100 people.
The attack comes a week after the Taliban announced their annual spring offensive and amid ongoing fighting across Afghanistan.
It illustrates the sprawling nature of Afghanistan’s conflict, and the obstacles to peace even if a deal is reached with the Taliban.
This week in the Qatari capital Doha, a summit planned between the Taliban and officials from across Afghanistan was scrapped at the last minute due to bickering over who should attend the conference.
The collapse comes at a critical time and amid continued bloodshed in Afghanistan, where the Taliban now control or influence about half of Afghanistan and 3,804 civilians were killed there last year, according to a UN tally.
Taliban officials are separately negotiating with the United States, which wants to forge a peace deal with the militants.