|Murder of Zainab|
|Location||Kasur, Punjab, Pakistan|
|Date||4 January 2018|
|Weapon||strangulation evidenced by fracture of the hyoid bone|
|Sexual assault (rape) and possibly sodomy; visible marks of torture on the face; congestion in the muscles; the tongue badly bruised and injured as pressed between the teeth; mud, fecal matter and blood found on the body|
|Victim||Zainab Amin Ansari|
|Coroner||DHQ MLO Dr Quratulain Attique|
|Convictions||Four counts of death penalty, one count of life imprisonment, one count of seven-year imprisonment, Rs. 3.2 million fine|
Zainab Ansari (Urdu: زینب انصاری) was a 6-year-old Pakistani girl who was on her way to a Quran recital when she was abducted. She was later found raped and murdered, which incited protests and outrage in Kasur, Punjab, Pakistan. The perpetrator was identified as Imran Ali, who was determined to be a serial killer responsible for seven previous murders in the area.
The incident happened when Zainab's parents had gone to Saudi Arabia for performing Umrah and Zainab was living with her uncle. On 4 January 2018, while going to a Quran tuition class which was very close to her house, she went missing. Her uncle, Muhammad Adnan, lodged a complaint with the Kasur District Police Office. CCTV video footage, which was discovered by Ansari's family members with no help from the authorities, shows her accompanied by an unknown bearded man in white clothes and a jacket, holding her by the hand and walking on Peerowala Road in Kasur. Her body was later found in a garbage heap in Shahbaz Khan Road on 9 January 2018. After an autopsy, it was confirmed that she had been raped and strangled to death. The autopsy suggested that she endured captivity and torture before her murder.
There were large protests in Kasur and other major cities of Pakistan. During clashes with the police, two people were killed after they broke into a police station. Four policemen who allegedly opened fire at protesters "[had] been arrested and being interrogated."
Punjab chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif said:
Deeply pained about brutal murder of an 8-year-old girl in a child molestation case. Those societies that cannot protect its children are eternally condemned. Not going to rest till the perpetrators of this dastardly act are apprehended & given severest possible punishment under the law
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai wrote on Twitter, "This has to stop. [Government] and the concerned authorities must take action." Imran Khan, the leader of PTI and a former cricketer, tweeted, "The condemnable & horrific rape & murder of little Zainab exposes once again how vulnerable our children are in our society."
Cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a political rival of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League party, "demanded the local government be replaced, saying it has 'no right to remain in power after the killing of Zainab Ansari'".
Kiran Naz, a news anchor on Pakistan's Samaa TV, hosted a January 10 bulletin with her young daughter on her lap as an act of protest. At the Sindh Assembly, artist celebrities Ayesha Omer, Nadia Hussain, Faysal Qureshi and others met on January 12 with Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza, demanding laws and justice to prevent such tragedies in the future. Mahira Khan, Ali Zafar, Imran Abbas, Mawra Hocane, and Saba Qamar, as well as former cricket players Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar tweeted about the incident, condemning the brutal rape and murder, while also trending the hashtag #JusticeforZainab.
Shahbaz Sharif announced the arrest of a suspect, Imran Ali, in a press conference on 23 January 2018. He confirmed that polygraph test and the DNA of the suspect matched with the samples with least eight minor girls, including Zainab, who were raped and murdered in within the same neighbourhood and that the suspect is a serial killer. Imran Ali was a 24-year-old mechanic who lived in Zainab's neighbourhood. He had even taken part in protests against Zainab's murder. Imran Ali confessed to his crimes. Police also found the jacket worn by the suspect, which was seen on CCTV while he was taking Zainab with him.
On 17 February 2018, an anti-terrorism court in Lahore Central Jail found Imran Ali guilty of raping and murdering Zainab Ansari. The court handed him four counts of the death penalty, one life term, a seven-year jail term and Rs. 3.2 million in fines. He was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of Zainab and twelve other underage girls, and was executed in the early morning of October 17, 2018, at Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail.
The black warrant for Imran's execution was carried out at 5:30 am in accordance with the prevailing law on capital punishment.