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

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.


Britain’s Johnson plays down Brexit breakthrough hopes

Updated 37 min 4 sec ago

Britain’s Johnson plays down Brexit breakthrough hopes

  • EU leaders will meet on Thursday and Friday for a summit held under the pressures of the October 31 Brexit deadline

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson played down hopes Sunday of a breakthrough in his last-ditch bid to strike an amicable divorce deal with the European Union.
Negotiators went behind closed doors for intensive talks in Brussels after Johnson outlined a new set of proposals to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Thursday.
They have very little time left to succeed.
EU leaders will meet on Thursday and Friday for a summit held under the pressures of the October 31 Brexit deadline just two weeks away.
The 27 would ideally like to have a full proposal to vote on by then.
But the sides are trying to achieve in a few days what they had failed to in the more than three years since Britons first voted to leave the European Union after nearly 50 years.
Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier called the weekend negotiations “constructive” enough to keep going for another day.
“A lot of work remains to be done,” Barnier stressed in a statement to EU ambassadors.
“Discussions at technical level will continue (Monday).”
Downing Street said Johnson also told his cabinet to brace for a cliff-hanger finish.
He reiterated “that a pathway to a deal could be seen but that there is still a significant amount of work to get there and we must remain prepared to leave on October 31,” a Downing Street spokesman said.
Johnson rose to power in July on a promise not to extend Brexit for a third time this year — even for a few weeks.
Breaking that pledge could come back to haunt him in an early general election that most predict for the coming months.
Johnson is under parliamentary orders to seek a extension until January 31 of next year if no deal emerges by Saturday.
He has promised to both follow the law and get Britain out by October 31 — a contradiction that might end up being settled in court.
Outgoing EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker said British politics were getting more difficult to decipher than the riddle of an “Egyptian sphinx.”
“If the British ask for more time, which they probably will not, it would in my view be a historical nonsense to refuse them,” Juncker told Austria’s Kurier newspaper.
Ireland’s Varadkar hinted on Thursday that he could support the talks running on up to the October 31 deadline if a deal seemed within reach.
The few details that have leaked out suggest a compromise around the contentious Irish border issue Britain’s Northern Ireland partially aligned with EU customs rules.
Whether such a fudge suits both Brussels and the more ardent Brexit backers in parliament who must still approve a deal should become clearer by the end of the week.
Britain will only avoid a chaotic breakup with its closest trading partners if the agreement is also passed by the UK parliament — something it has failed to do three times.
Johnson heads a minority government and must rely on the full backing of not only his own fractured Conservatives but also Northern Ireland’s small Democratic Unionist Party.
DUP’s parliamentary leader Nigel Dodds warned Johnson that “Northern Ireland must remain entirely in the customs union of the United Kingdom” and not the EU.
“And Boris Johnson knows it very well,” Dodds told Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper.
The comments do not necessarily rule out DUP support.
UK media are presenting Johnson’s mooted compromise as a “double customs” plan that could be interpreted to mean that Northern Ireland is leaving EU rules.
Yet details are still under discussion and the prime minister’s allies are urging lawmakers to give the British leader a chance.
Main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn signalled Sunday that he would wait for the outcome of the EU summit before trying to force an early election.
But he added that there was “a strong possibility” that those polls would come before the Christmas break.