LAHORE – A man convicted of raping and murdering at least five children in Kasur district was hanged in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail before dawn on Wednesday.
Twenty-five-year-old Imran Ali was executed in presence of Muhammad Amin Ansari, father of seven-year-old Zainab, one of the victims found murdered after being raped in Kasur early this year.
An official of the central jail told The Nation on Wednesday that a medical officer and two magistrates were also present there at the time of the execution. “He (Imran) was sent to the gallows shortly before dawn and was hanged to death after proper medical checkup,” the official said. The jail staff also allowed the convict to take a bath before hanging.
Authorities performed the first execution of this year in Lahore’s central jail on Wednesday morning amid heightened security and massive deployment of anti-riot units around the prison. Elite police commandoes were also on patrol around the prison.
Zainab’s father Amin Ansari while talking to reporters outside the jail said that the criminal had met his fate and he had seen the whole episode with own eyes. “He was hanged to death. And, I have seen this with my own eyes. (His) body was removed from the gallows after 30 minutes,” Ansari said. He further said the execution would not console Zainab’s grief-stricken mother who still remains in shock. But, such criminals must be given an exemplary punishment, he said.
In January, Amin Ansari during a talk-show on Waqt News, had stated, “I have lost trust in government and the police. I appeal to the chief of army staff and the chief justice of Pakistan to provide us justice.” Ansari also thanked chief justice of Pakistan and said that the callous met his fate.
Following Imran’s execution, the dead body was handed over to his relatives. A brother and uncle of Imran reached the jail on a private ambulance to collect the body. As media crews rushed towards the ambulance, Imran’s relatives immediately covered their faces with hands and refused to talk to media persons. The body was transported to a graveyard for burial in an ambulance. Several police squads accompanied the ambulance to provide security cover to the relatives of the convict. Authorities did not disclose the burial site citing security reasons. Imran was likely to be buried late Wednesday.
A day earlier, Imran’s family was allowed to hold “final meeting” with him as per the jail rules. An official said Imran wept bitterly and sought apology from his mother during his meeting. He was also ashamed over his actions and he was repeatedly seeking apology from his mother and relatives.
In a letter sent to Zainab’s father, the jail superintendent asked the complainant to reach the jail before dawn so that the execution could be carried out in his presence. However, the parents of other four victims did not visit the jail to witness the hanging. All the victims were as young as five-year-old. They were identified by police as Laiba, Mahreen, Kainat, Noor Fatima and Ayesha Batool.
Imran was booked by police in seven child rape and murder cases and the court announced its verdict in five such cases. Last week, Imran’s death warrants were issued after President Arif Alvi rejected his mercy petition in the Zainab murder case.
Zainab was abducted by a man when she was going to a religious school nearby on January 4. Several days later, her body was found abandoned in the fields near Elite College on Shahbaz Khan Road, locals said.
Zainab’s murder had triggered widespread outrage and violent protests in Kasur district with rights activists calling for justice for Zainab. A high-powered joint investigation team comprising police investigators and intelligence operatives had been constituted to unearth the serial killer.
Clashes erupted between police and protesters in Kasur city after discovery of the body early this year. Two protesters had died and seven others wounded as police opened fire to disperse angry mob.
DNA helped police identity killer
Imran was arrested as a result of DNA profiling. Also, during his polygraph tests, the suspect confessed to his crime before an investigation team. The DNA matching was 100 percent, according to officials. In his (video-recording) statement, Imran confessed to raping and killing six other children.
During Zainab murder case probe, the police established on the basis of DNA reports of the victims that a single person was involved in at least seven rape and murder cases. Police had interrogated a few thousand people and collected DNA tests of at least 1150 residents of the locality. Then Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif had announced arrest of the serial rapist and murderer before media persons in presence of Muhammad Amin, father of Zainab.
Resident of Road Kot, Imran Ali, also a neighbour of Zainab, was said to be a carpenter by profession. He had joined protesters after discovery of the body. He was also seen among relatives of the victims as media persons rushed to the violence-hit district. The police could not reach the serial killer unless the DNA profiling proved him guilty in at least seven similar cases.
Imran had left school when he was in class-III. Local residents were in a state of shock as they came to know that the serial killer police were hunting for was in fact Imran Ali. Imran used to participate in religious gatherings. He was living with his two brothers and four sisters. The house of the killer was located just 120 metres away from the victim’s residence. Hence, he was familiar with the child. He had raped and killed at least seven children within a radius of two kilometres but the police failed to arrest him.
Child abuse in Kasur
In 2015, country’s biggest child abuse scandal surfaced in the same Kasur district following the discovery of 400 videos recording more than 280 children being forced to have sex. The Nation exposed the biggest child abuse scandal that made headlines across the world.
Most of the victims were under 14 years of age but included a six-year-old boy who was forced to perform a homosexual act and a 10-year-old schoolgirl who was filmed being molested by a 14 year old boy. One of the victims said he was injected in the spine with a drug before he was assaulted.