Politics

Zainab Murder Case In Kasur: Suspect Allegedly Works With Child Porn Ring [REPORT]

Zainab Murder Case

The murder of young Zainab Ansari is now before Pakistan’s Supreme Court, and as more and more details come out, an already-disturbing case is becoming even more upsetting. Courtroom testimony in the Zainab murder case has accused the suspect not only of the girl’s rape and murder but also of involvement with a suspected child porn ring that crosses international borders.

Background in the Zainab murder case

Mohammad Imran has been accused of killing up to eight young girls, including Zainab Ansari, whose body was found in a garbage dump in Kasur. Police say she was kidnapped on Jan. 4 while she was on her way to her Quran recital. Her body was found on Jan. 9, and according to various media reports, an autopsy revealed that she had been raped and then strangled. The autopsy also indicated that she was tortured while being held by her kidnapper, according to press reports. The girl’s parents were out of the country at the time of her abduction, as they had gone on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. The girl had been staying with her aunt.

Police say they linked 24-year-old Mohammad Imran to the girl’s death by matching his DNA to DNA found her body. Officials also say his DNA matched that found in seven other murder investigations. Police accuse him of luring children by offering them food and then raping and murdering them.

Suspect accused of involvement in a child porn ring

The Zainab murder case incited outrage and violent protests throughout Pakistan resulting in several injuries and at least two deaths in Kasur. The hashtag #JusticeForZainab has also been trending on social media this month, not only in Pakistan but also around the globe.

Now the nation’s Senate is being asked to consider bringing back public hanging for those found guilty of raping or murdering children younger than 14. If young Zainab’s death isn’t enough to spur lawmakers into action on that, the latest set of courtroom testimony in the case may provide further motivation.

Press reports indicate that the Zainab murder case was the twelfth case of its kind in the Kasur district within the last 12 months. A police official reportedly told Al Jazeera that the suspect lives nearby the young girl’s home and that he has confessed to killing her. The official also told the media network that police had arrested him in the past. However, at that time they didn’t have enough evidence to pursue a case against him, so he was released. After his previous release, he reportedly shaved his beard so he could not be recognized, the official added.

Unnamed Punjab minister accused of involvement

Journalist Dr. Shahid Masood testified in the Zainab murder case this week that Imran was actively involved in a child porn ring. His testimony was ordered after he made his own allegations in the case on his late-night talk show. The three judges on the bench watched the show in which he made his allegations regarding the Zainab murder case. The judges ordered Punjab Inspector General of Police Arif Nawaz Khan to work with a joint investigation team to investigate the TV host’s claims. Officials told the court that they had put together a team of six members after the airing of the show about the Zainab murder case.

He alleges that some political figures in Pakistan are involved in distributing child pornography internationally through the same group, which he also claims was involved in the rape and murder of Zainab Ansari and other children. Dr. Masood’s testimony also alleges that Imran had at least 37 different bank accounts which he allegedly used to conduct transactions in several different foreign currencies.

The journalist claims that key political figures and also some non-political personalities also supported the child porn ring Imran was allegedly involved in, which he said stretched across international boundaries. Among the political allies he alleges are involved in the international child porn ring is a Punjab minister, according to Dawn, and Dr. Masood urged Pakistani’s prime minister, chief justice and army chief to conduct an investigation into the matter.

Call for investigation into alleged child porn ring

In court during his testimony, Dr. Masood was instructed by Pakistan Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar to write down the names of the provincial minister he believed to be involved in the international child porn ring and also another official he believed to be involved, which he did. The names of the influential officials have not been revealed publicly. Authorities say that they will not be revealed until after they have completed their investigation because if the allegations turn out to be wrong, “it will not be good,” Pakistan Today quotes the chief justice as saying.

Dr. Masood also expressed concern about whether the suspect in the Zainab murder case would be killed while in jail. He alleges that the suspect is not simple-minded, but rather, is a “member of an international ring,” press reports quote the chief justice of Pakistan as saying. He also suggested that the suspect be held by an intelligence agency rather than by the police. The chief justice of Pakistan said that the suspect’s security is “very important,” Pakistan Today adds.

This isn’t the first time we’re hearing about an alleged child porn ring operating in Pakistan’s Kasur district. Al Jazeera reports that Kasur made headlines around the globe in 2015 after officials uncovered hundreds of videos of child pornography. At that time, police ended up arresting several suspects they said were part of a child porn ring involved in sales of child pornography to websites operating in Europe. The majority of the victims in that case were reportedly under the age of 14, officials told Al Jazeera.