Head of JIT probing Zainab incident changed

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Salim Ahmed

Lahore

The spokesperson of the Punjab government Malik Ahmad Khan Friday said the suspect in the Zainab murder case appears to be a serial killer who used to kidnap and later kill the young girls.
While talking to media alongwith Punjab education minister Rana Mashood and health minister Khawaja Imran Nazir, Khan said this claim is based on the basis of witness accounts. He said that security agencies are moving in right direction and the accused will be taken to task.
He said, “It was worrisome that these incidents occurred in close vicinity,” he said, adding: “The suspect will be brought to book.” He also condemned the death of two protesters due to police firing on Wednesday.
Moreover, the situation in Kasur has partially normalized after two days of shutter down strike and violent protests. Transportation also kicked off; however, markets stayed shut due to wheel jam in the city. Educational institutions were opened. Queues were seen at breakfast markets in the early morning whereas the traffic flow has also been restored.
However, Rangers and police personnel are deployed at sensitive places to avoid any untoward situation. The officers have requested the citizens to not violate law and order.
Malik Ahmad Khan regretted the incident of straight firing by the police on protesters in which two people were killed. However, he said, “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.
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.
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.
Rana Mashood said they are hoping for a breakthrough after the arrests of a few suspects.
He added that Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif is personally monitoring the case. He appealed to protesters to not damage property during their protests over the incident.
Moreover, the Punjab government has changed the head of the joint investigation team (JIT) formed to probe the murder and rape of seven-year-old Zainab. According to a government notification, Additional IG Abu Bakr Khuda Baksh has been replaced by Multan Regional Police Officer DIG Muhammad Idrees.
It may be recalled that Zainab’s father, Ameen, had objected to the inclusion of the previous JIT head.
On Friday, members of the JIT, including Muhammad Idrees, reached the Kasur DPO office and held meetings with local officials. Idrees was quoted as saying that the investigation into the case has begun and will be wrapped up soon.
On the other hand, Zainab’s murderer is still at large despite operations launched by the security forces while investigation from the arrested suspicious people is also underway to collect further evidence.
A large number of people from Kasur who used to daily visit Lahore in connection with their livelihood are not turning up due to blockade of roads.