A day after the father of eight-year-old victim of rape and murder in Kasur had demanded to change head of the joint investigation team (JIT) formed to probe the incident that shook the nation, the Punjab government on Friday appointed RPO Multan Idress Ahmad to head the probe.
Zainab’s father had expressed reservations over Abu Bakar Khuda Bakhsh heading the JIT.
Addressing a press conference in Kasur today, Punjab government spokesperson Malik Ahmed Khan and leaders of ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said they regretted the incident of straight firing by the police on protesters.
At least two people were killed and as many injured when police allegedly opened straight fire on protesters demanding justice for the victim on Wednesday.
The PML-N leaders, however, added that not all those protesting after the news of the brutal rape and murder of the minor girl broke were citizens of Kasur.
“Some people were brought in from outside of Kasur… they were armed with stones and sticks and tried to spread chaos in the city,” said Khan, adding that real stakeholders were citizens of Kasur and not outsiders.
“But we’ll address this issue later. Our first priority is to bring the culprit to book,” he said.
The law and order situation in Kasur has started to normalise two days after the protests erupted in the aftermath of the brutal incident. Transportation also kicked off, however, markets stayed shut due to wheel jam in the city.
Sharing some details of ongoing investigation, the Punjab government spokesman said the suspect was being identified through CCTV footage with the help of state-of-the-art magnifying process at Punjab forensic institute.
“We are also in contact with the family in this regard… victims confirmation from the CCTV footage is also being carried out,” he added.
Khan said all information regarding the probe cannot be shared with the media at this point to avoid putting the whole process in jeopardy.
Calling the suspect a ‘lunatic serial killer’, he said there was a connection between some of the incidents of similar nature in the recent past. “Bodies were found from different abandoned places as the suspect tried to mislead the investigation,” he added.
DNA test cannot accurately identify the suspect, said Khan when asked about DNA similarities in different cases of the past.
He said the provincial government was in process to establish a criminal database for the first time in the country’s history so that the suspects in CCTV footage can be identified through face-recognition system.
LHC sets 36-hour deadline
Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court Chief Justice has set a 36-hour deadline for the provincial government to arrest the culprit of the brutal murder.
Justice Masoor Ali Shah heard the sou motu case on Friday.
“Deploy the full force if you have to,” he was quoted as saying by Express News.
Inspector general (IG) Punjab Mushtaq Sakheer informed the court that 11 similar cases have been reported in the past in Kasur.
He further said that over 200 people have been arrested in the cases and DNA samples from 67 suspects have been taken.
The IG also said that DNA of one suspect matched in six cases and was also likely to be involved in Zainab’s rape and murder case.
Justice Mansoor has directed the IG to submit the report till January 16.