LAHORE: A Lahore High Court division bench on Monday summoned case record and a report from the superintendent of Kot Lakhpat jail on a jail-appeal of Imran Ali against his conviction in rape and murder case of seven-year-old Zainab of Kasur.
Earlier, rights activist and senior lawyer Asad Jamal filed his power of attorney on behalf of the convict and sought two-week time from the bench to prepare his arguments.
However, the bench comprising Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan and Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry allowed one-week time to the counsel and directed the prosecution to provide him with complete record of the case. The bench would resume hearing on March 20.
Talking to media, Advocate Jamal explained the reasons for taking up the case of Imran Ali. He said one was to find out if there had been any violation of fair trial. He said everyone with strong feeling for Zainab and eight other little innocent girls, who were brutally assaulted and murdered, wanted to know the facts of the case.
He said it was [our] duty to find out and make sure that there was only one man who brutally killed all the victims and that there was adequate evidence against him. He said no one would like to discover at later stage that there were other offenders as well.
Convict in jail-appeal seeks commutation for making confession
Advocate Jamal further said the instant case was a very good opportunity for the high court to carefully examine what were the required steps to ensure fair trial under Article 10-A of the Constitution and whether fair trial requisites had been fulfilled.
He said the court could lay down guidelines or bring gaps in legislation to the notice of the legislature so that they could amend the laws and rules or introduce new ones.
Haji Amin Ansari, father of the victim girl, also appeared before the bench along with his counsel. Ansari also talked to the media and reiterated his dissatisfaction over police investigation in the case. He demanded that the government trace out alleged facilitator(s) in the case and also called for public hanging.
In his jail-appeal, Ali pleaded that he confessed to his crime and saved the precious time of the trial court. He said in developed countries the courts treated criminals with leniency if they make confession. However, he pleaded that the trial court did not show leniency in his case despite the confession. He urged the court to set aside his death penalty and also commute other sentence.
An anti-terrorism court had on Feb 17 handed down death sentence on four counts to Ali following a four-day jail trial conducted in the central jail. The convict was also separately given life imprisonment and a seven-year jail term in addition to the death penalty.
Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2018