LAHORE: A two-judge bench of the Lahore High Court on Monday admitted for hearing an appeal of convict Imran Ali in the rape and murder case of the Kasur’s minor girl, Zainab. The bench, comprising Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan and Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry, took up the appeal on Monday. The victim girl’s father, Muhammad Amin, attended the hearing. Advocate Asad Jamal, representing the convict, pleaded the judges to give him three weeks’ time to prepare arguments in the case. To which, the bench asked the counsel to come prepared on next hearing and adjourned the hearing till Tuesday. In his appeal, the counsel contended that his client had confessed to have committed the crime in order to save court’s time. In developed countries, he added, courts take lenient approach toward those criminals who make confessional statements. “But, an anti-terrorism court, which handed down four death penalties to Imran, didn’t took this fact into consideration,” the lawyer argued. He requested the high court to curtail his client’s punishment keeping in view his confessional statement. Zainab, who went missing on January 4 from Kasur’s Kot Road area, was found raped, dead and buried in a trash heap in Kasur on January 9. The horrific incident triggered widespread outrage and protests across the country with people calling for public execution of the culprit. On Feb 17, an anti-terrorism court of Lahore awarded four death penalties to the prime suspect, Imran Ali, for raping and murdering the minor in Kasur. He was also sentenced to life imprisonment and a separate 7-year jail term. The court also asked him to pay a collective fine of Rs 3.1 million. The court conducted the swiftest trial in Pakistan’s judicial history at Kot Lakhpat Jail and concluded proceedings within four days. Las week, Anchorperson Dr Shahid Masood has decided not to contest the inquiry committee’s report that rubbished the allegations he made in the murder investigation of seven-year-old Zainab, who was killed after being raped in Kasur. In a statement issued on Saturday, Masood stated that the court selected members of the inquiry committee itself, which is why he could not comment on the veracity of its findings regarding his allegations against Imran Ali being involved with an international child pornography ring. “Whatever the inquiry committee has concluded, I do not contest and refute the same,” the anchorperson said. He added that he will observe ‘due diligence’ and ‘care’ before making any such statements in future. Earlier, Masood on his talk show on a local news channel had claimed that the convict was part of an international racket and held 37 bank accounts. Published in Daily Times, March 13th 2018.