Lesson for India as Pakistan hangs man, who raped and murdered 7-year-old Zainab in January


In a swift justice, the authorities in Pakistan executed the man, who raped seven-year-old Zainab Fatima Ameen in Pakistan in January this year, on Wednesday morning. In a similar incident, the rapists and killers of eight-year-old Muslim girl in Kathua continue to remain alive amidst incredible support from the BJP and other Hindutva groups.

Imran Ali, who had brutalised Zainab in January this year, was hanged at Kot Lakhpat Central Jail in Lahore after a court dismissed a petition for his public hanging filed by the father of a seven-year-old girl.

According to a report by Dawn.com Ali was executed in the presence of both Magistrate Adil Sarwar and the girl’s father. The girl’s uncle was also present at the jail.

A two-member Lahore High Court bench comprising Justice Sardar Shamim Ahmed and Justice Shahbaz Rizvi on Tuesday dismissed the plea of the father of the minor girl, seeking public hanging of the convict.

24-year-old Imran Ali was handed out the death sentence in February this year, a month after he committed the crime. He was facing charges in the cases of at least seven other children attacked, five of whom he murdered. Ali was also give four separate death sentences after being convicted of rape and murder of Zainab.

Ali was also fined Rs 20 lakh for sodomy and hiding the body of Zainab and disrespecting her body by throwing it in the trash heap.

The speedy trial in the case of Zainab’s rape and murder is a lesson to the Indian judiciary, which has not been able to punish the killers of Nirbhaya, who was gangraped and murdered in December 2013 in Delhi.

Not so long ago, an eight-month-old baby was raped by a 27-year-old man in the national capital of India. Speaking on Janta Ka Conclave in Kolkata last year, Delhi Commission for Women Chief Swati Maliwal had expressed her frustration on the low conviction rate in rape crimes in India. Citing Delhi’s example, Maliwal had said, “Between 2012 and 2014, 31,446 crimes were registered in Delhi. FIRs were filed, but less than 150 were convicted. In our country nobody fears the law. They think they can get away with any crime against women and that’s what the DCW is trying to change.”

Pakistani court handing out death penalty to Zainab’s rapist and killer within a month of the crime being committed comes at a time when Hindutva forces in Jammu have been continuously defending the rapists of eight-year-old girl in Kathua. Although, the case has now been transferred out of Jammu and Kashmir, there’s not much headway. Experts believe that it will take many years for the family of Kathua victim to get justice in India. The Hindutva supporters had also demanded the release of a police officer, Deepak Khujaria, who is alleged to be prime accused.

The 8-year-old child was gang-raped by members of the right-wing Hindutva supporters inside a local temple for several days after she was administered sedative to keep her unconscious. One local police officer, also involved in the crime, had requested his accomplices to let him rape the 8-year-old child for one last time before killing her.

The act of Jammu Bar Association, which threw its support behind the rape accused and prevented the crime branch officials from entering the court premises to submit the charge-sheet was widely seen as pro-rapist and anti-national.

The development also evoked angry reactions from around the world. It took an unprecedented outrage by politicians and members of India’s civil society for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his silence. Speaking on the rape cases, Modi had said that guilty will not be spared.

However, the same day, one of her MPs, Meenakshi Lekhi, was profusely defending her party’s cabinet ministers in the then Jammu and Kashmir government, saying that they were misled. A report by Janta Ka Reporter and the subsequent emergence of a video  conclusively established that the two ministers had joined the rally taken out by Hindu Ekta Manch in support of the rapists. While at the rally, the two BJP ministers had also made extremely insensitive remarks on Asifa’s rape and murder.