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Zainab case highlights Punjab police incompetence

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News Analysis |

The Zainab murder and rape case has exposed the gross incompetence, criminal negligence and deplorable ethics of the Punjab police. Zainab was not the first victim of the culprit Imran, he had raped and murdered seven other girls in the past two years yet police failed to capture him and murdered an innocent instead.

Last year, 5-year-old Iman Fatima was raped and murdered in the same fashion as Zainab in February. Police caught the suspect within hours after Iman’s body was found. The suspect was 21-year-old Mudassir but hours after being taken into custody he was allegedly shot in a police encounter. Police sources claim that Mudassir was trying to escape custody, which forced them to shoot him.

The violent interrogation methods of the police are also cause of distress among the general public since every suspect that is arrested confesses to the crime. The activists demand a change and the protection of public from police atrocities.  

One year after that incident, the arrest of Zainab’s culprit has revealed that Mudassir was innocent. The culprit in Zainab’s case, Imran Ali, has confessed to raping and murdering seven other girls including Iman. Police sources claim that Mudassir had confessed to his crimes before being shot. 171 DNA samples, including Mudassir’s, were taken after the death of Iman and none of them matched the samples gathered from the crime scene.

Mudassir’s family, while talking to the media, revealed that the police had always known that Mudassir was not the culprit and they had killed him because they failed to find any trace of the real culprit. He (Mudassir) was used as a scapegoat by the police to hide their own ineptitude according to Mudassir’s family. The family also stated that they were forced to leave Kasur after the incident because the neighbors started treating them like pariahs.

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They are now demanding justice from the government for the extrajudicial killing of Mudassir. This was not the only case of police incompetence in Kasur. Yesterday, in a press conference in Road Kot locality, Zainab’s father Muhammad Amin claimed that it was not the police that had nabbed Zainab’s culprit but his family and relatives. To back his claims, he stated that the picture of the culprit, Imran, sitting on a cot was taken by his relatives.

The conduct of the police department has created an environment of fear in which most people are reluctant to report a crime or act as a witness, according to human rights activists.

Amin told the journalists that his family had been insisting that the culprit was Imran since the 5th of January but the police didn’t take any action against him. He also said that the CCTV footage of the kidnapping was obtained by Zainab’s family and not the police. Amin protested that he wanted to put his demands in CM Shehbaz Sharif’s press conference but his microphones were switched off by him.

He put forward the demand that the culprit should be hanged publicly and the innocent suspects apprehended by the police should be released immediately and the families of all the victims should be provided relief. Amin threatened to stage a protest on Friday if the suspects in police custody are not released. Law enforcement analysts believe that Punjab police is not equipped with necessary skills to handle such cases.

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They criticized the training of the police to be inadequate to meet the demands of their job. The analysts also suspect political motives behind the lack of action in different cases. They believe corruption and nepotism to be the major causes of the dismal state of the police department. Psychological experts suggest that a separate wing in the police should be made for the apprehension of serial killers.

Zainab’s father Muhammad Amin claimed that it was not the police that had nabbed Zainab’s culprit but his family and relatives. To back his claims, he stated that the picture of the culprit, Imran, sitting on a cot was taken by his relatives.

The details of a serial crime should be recorded in a database to find a pattern in the crime. They are of the opinion that a serial crime is very different from any ordinary crime, a serial killer follows a pattern that can be traced if the cases are closely inspected, going door to door in search of a serial killer is a waste of time and resources, and not feasible in most cases.

Read more: Zainab atrocity brings to light other rape cases in the country

The conduct of the police department has created an environment of fear in which most people are reluctant to report a crime or act as a witness, according to human rights activists. They demand an upheaval of the whole department with more transparency so that no innocent would be tortured or murdered in police custody. The violent interrogation methods of the police are also cause of distress among the general public since every suspect that is arrested confesses to the crime. The activists demand a change and the protection of public from police atrocities.  


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