A district and sessions court awarded death sentences to two persons for raping and murdering a minor girl.
Babar Masih and Muhammad Adnan were found guilty of killing a nine-year-old girl Zainab after they raped her in the Civil Lines area on March 22.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Afzal Majoka pronounced the verdict after recording evidence of the witnesses and final arguments from both sides.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs500,000 each on both the convicts.
The judge also awarded seven years imprisonment and a fine of Rs100,000 to a co-accused, Aniqa for abetting in the crime.
Both convicts have been shifted to the death cell after the court announced the verdict.
The court completed the hearing of the case in seven months while strict security measures had been put in place in the court areas with heavy deployment of police contingents.
The incident took place in the Jhanda Chechi area where the minor girl, Zainab, went missing after she left her home to buy something from a nearby shop. Her body was later found from under the bed of her neighbour.
Babar Masih’s wife, Anita, was also present at the house when the suspect brought the victim to the house. She had left for her mother’s house after locking the door from outside.
Zainab’s body was found from the house of Babar Masih while the suspect was found in a deep sleep.
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As soon as the incident came to light, riots broke out in Rawalpindi.
The citizens blocked the VVIP road by placing the body in front of the Civil Lines police station and offered the funeral prayers outside it the next day.
After the court verdict, Human Rights Association Chairperson Tayyaba Abbasi said that such criminals should be punished immediately. She said the government should stricter the laws and such cases should be disposed of in three months.
Tayyaba said that high and supreme courts should also give verdicts in such cases in three months so that the culprits can be brought to justice at the earliest. The district bar association pursued the case free while the bar president Rizwan Akhtar and Secretary Imran Yousuf said the bar will play its role for quick justice in child abuse cases.
The victim’s mother told The Express Tribune that she has gotten justice from the independent courts.
The aggrieved mother said the culprits tried to bribe her but she did not compromise.
She said that forgiving the suspect would have been tantamount to encouraging such criminals.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2021.