LAHORE: The defence counsel of the suspect in the Zainab rape and murder case informed the judge on Wednesday that after the suspect’s confession, his conscience cannot permit him to represent a hardened criminal
The counsel, Mehar Shakeel Multani, had made similar comments before the media yesterday.
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 official withdrawal today, the Punjab prosecutor general assigned Imran a government lawyer, Mohammad Sultan.
A total of 56 witnesses have been named in the case.
So far, 36 witnesses have recorded their statements, including Zainab’s paternal uncle and five-year-old brother, her neighbours, doctors, police officials who transported the DNA samples and investigation officers.
Imran’s statement is expected to be recorded tomorrow after the court records the statements of all the remaining witnesses today. He 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.
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.