The Supreme Court of Pakistan has given 72 hours to a joint investigation team to finish their probe into the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab Ansari, which has ignited nationwide protests and outrage over allegations of government inaction.
According to a Geo TV report, the Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar-led special bench on Sunday resumed hearing the suo motu notice, which it took on January 10, at the Lahore Registry.
Kidnapped on January 4 from near her aunt’s house in Kasur, Punjab, the body of Zainab was found five days later from a garbage pile. The autopsy report later revealed that the girl was raped before she was killed.
During last Tuesday’s hearing, the probe team chief Deputy Inspector General Muhammad Idrees had submitted a progress report in court and informed that Zainab's was the eighth case of child abuse in Kasur, near the eastern city of Lahore, since June 2015.
However, residents of the area said her murder was the 12th such incident in a year, and has fueled fears a serial rapist killer might be on the loose, reports Reuters.
Geo TV reported that the chief justice had expressed displeasure and remarked that despite these many incidents over the past two years under their jurisdictions the SHOs of the two police stations were not removed.
The court also observed that these incidents would not have happened had the police been serious since 2015.
The bench had also inquired about the treatment of Kainat, another abuse victim from Kasur who is currently admitted at a Lahore hospital. Addressing the medical superintendent of the hospital, the court said the young girl should be taken abroad for treatment if necessary.
Meanwhile, another closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of the suspect in the Zainab rape-murder case surfaced on Friday night, said the Geo TV report. The suspect was seen doing rounds near the victim's Kasur home.
The report said the suspect's face was clearer in the latest footage as opposed to the previous clips. Several CCTV videos of the girl being led away by the suspected man have emerged so far.
Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab province, recently also offered a reward of 10 million Pakistani rupees ($90,000) for anyone who provides information about the killer, reports Reuters.