Suspect arrested in assault, murder of minor

Police say 19-year-old suspect Ali is victim Asma’s cousin


Owais Qarni February 26, 2018
Suspect arrested in murder of minor PHOTO: FILE

MULTAN: Punjab police on Sunday arrested the main suspect, including four others, in the rape and murder case of a six-year-old girl named Asma in Dunyapur, a tehsil of Lodhran district.

Asma was reported missing on February 19. She was found dead on February 24 near a pond, with her body mutilated. A postmortem report confirmed the girl was killed after being raped.

The police said the main suspect in the case is Asma’s 19-year-old cousin Ali Haider who has been accused of raping the child and then killing her.

The police said Haider confessed to molesting and killing Asma during the investigation.

The other four suspects in the case are also Asma’s close relatives and were arrested within 100 metres from the crime site.

The postmortem of the slain girl was conducted under the supervision of the Lodhran District Police Officer (DPO) Ameer Taimoor at the District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ).

The DPO confirmed that the girl was killed after being raped, adding further details will be revealed once the forensic report is issued.

Dr Waseem Iqbal, the medical superintendent at DHQ hospital Lodhran told The Express Tribune, the victim was killed 48 hours ago.

The slain girl’s body was handed over to her family after postmortem. Funeral prayers were offered at a local mosque, in which DPO Lodhran and other senior officials also participated.

Asma was laid to rest in her ancestral graveyard amid tight security.

Punjab CM takes notice

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif is expected to visit Asma’s house soon and condole with the bereaved family. Taking notice of the reports of the incident, the CM directed the provincial inspector general of police to submit a report within 48 hours and arrest the culprits immediately.

“The culprits do not deserve any kind of sympathy,” the CM said. “The rape and murder of the minor is horrific.”

“The rising number of such incidents is an alarming moment for whole society,” Sharif said.

Separately, a 12-year-old boy was arrested on charges of raping a four-year-old girl in the Dunyapur tehsil of Lodhran. The charges were brought forward by Naseem Bibi, mother of the child.

Naseem Bibi claimed Muhammad Ramzan took her four-year-old daughter to a nearby cattle pen and assaulted her.

Police have said details of the crime will be confirmed after the medical reports come out.

Further investigations in the case are underway.

Earlier, the Ministry of Human Rights told the National Assembly that since 2013, a whopping 17, 862 cases of child abuse have been reported in the country, including girls and boys.

As per the data compiled by a non-profit organisation called Sahil, 10,620 of those reported cases were girls whereas the victims in the rest of 7,242 cases were boys.

The number of cases against girls ranges between 2,000 as it is 2,410 in 2016 and 1,974 in 2015.

The trend in the number of reported cases of boys has witnessed abrupt increase as it was 985 in 2013 and soared to 1,367 in 2014, and reached 1,794 in 2015.

The data revealed a total of 112 cases were decided upon where the accused were convicted. Among those, death sentences were handed down in only 25 cases, whereas 11 cases concluded with life imprisonment.

In 10 cases, the accused were sentenced to 25 years in prison. Similarly, in 19 cases the accused were awarded 10 year imprisonment while others included eight years to six months imprisonment, the data shows.

Interestingly, during the five years period, the number of total cases registered with police are 13,267 with difference of 4,595 when compared to actual number of cases occurred.

The number of cases has been ranging from 3,216 — the highest one in 2016 — and 2,378 — the lowest one in 2013.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2018.

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