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Pakistan hangs child killer whose crimes sparked major riots

Pakistanis protesting the murder and rape of six-year-old Zainab Ansari [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 October, 2018

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The 24-year-old Imran Ali was put to death on Wednesday for the rape and murder of a six-year-old girl as well as five other murders.
Pakistan put to death a man convicted of raping and murdering a six-year-old girl, a crime that sparked outrage and riots in the South Asian country.

Chilling CCTV footage broadcast on television following the killing purportedly showed the young girl - Zainab Fatima Ameen - walking hand-in-hand with an unidentified man, in what may have been her last moments.

Imran Ali, 24, was handed four separate death sentences for the rape and murder, which took place in the eastern city of Kasur in January.

In all he confessed to eight attacks on children in the city, including five murders, in a spate of violence that terrorised society.

"He was hanged this morning in the presence of a prison official and the father of the victim," an official at Lahore's central prison, where the convict was executed, told AFP.

"His dead body was handed over to his family who took it away for burial," he said.

Members of Zainab's family had called for Ali to be executed in public - a move rejected by the Lahore High Court on Tuesday. 

"I have bit of satisfaction that justice has been delivered but I am not fully satisfied as he was not hanged in public," Zainab's father Ameen Ansari told media outside the prison following the execution.

The young girl's murder sparked outrage across Pakistan, with violence erupting in Kasur as thousands swarmed police stations and set fire to politicians' homes, while Pakistanis across the country took to social media demanding action.

At least 12 cases of rape and murder have been recorded in the Kasur area in the past two years. Ali confessed to eight of these, but four remain unsolved.

Prior to the recent flood of cases, Kasur was already infamous for sexual abuse, after authorities uncovered a huge paedophile ring in the city in 2015.

Until 2014, Pakistan had maintained a moratorium on executions, but that was lifted after 130 children were killed in Peshawar during an attack on a school.

About 500 people have since been executed, and Pakistan has a death row population of nearly 5,000. Rights groups have criticised the use of the death penalty in Pakistan and elsewhere. 

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