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A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Tuesday indicted an alleged serial killer who is accused of abducting, raping and murdering eight minor girls in Punjab province, including seven-year-old Zainab. The Lahore ATC charged Imran Ali, 23, in the high profile rape and murder case of Zainab apart from seven other girls. A total of 36 witnesses testified against him on Monday and Tuesday at the court of Judge Sajjad Ahmad in Kot Lakhpat jail. Since it is a high profile case, the trial is being held in the jail keeping in view security issues.
Zainab was found raped and murdered early last month in Kasur, some 50 kms from Lahore, a crime that shook the nation. She was kidnapped on January 5 while going for Quran class. Her body was recovered on January 9 from a heap of garbage in the city. The police had arrested the suspect with the help of a DNA test. After her alleged murderer was caught, it emerged that he was also the killer of seven other girls in Kasur.
Police have built their case on DNA match in all eight cases. The Lahore High Court has ordered the ATC to conclude the trial as early as possible. As the prosecution handed over charge-sheet to Ali, he pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the trial. Like on Monday, nearly 10-hour proceedings were held in which the judge recorded statements of 16 prosecution witnesses. The court is conducting the trial on a day-to-day basis to conclude the trial at the earliest.
The prosecution had requested the court to hold the trial in jail due to security reasons. Chief prosecutor Abdul Rauf Wattoo told the trial court that the various evidences had been collected including CCTV footage, DNA test and polygraph test. Advocate Mehar Shakeel Multani appeared on behalf of the accused. The counsel would present defence witnesses after the testimony of the prosecution’s witnesses.