10/17/2018, 17.26
PAKISTAN
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Lahore: Zainab’s killer hanged but the death penalty 'is not the solution'

by Shafique Khokhar

The execution took place this morning. In January, Zainab, a seven-year-old girl, was abducted, raped, tortured and dumped on a garbage heap. A certain criminal mindset is "well rooted in society".

 

 

Lahore (AsiaNews) – Imran Ali, the 24-year-old man convicted for the murder, rape and torture of seven-year-old Zainab, was executed this morning at the Central Jail Lahore (Kot Lakhpat Jail).

The murder of the child, who was on her way to religious class and whose body was dumped on a garbage heap, took place in early January in Kasur (near Lahore).

The murder sparked outrage across Pakistan. Many Pakistanis reacted vehemently, complaining pf police inaction. Many activists condemned the crime, noting its relationship to a widespread "culture of rape" that allows crimes to go unpunished.

The death sentence was carried our at 5.30 am (local time). The father of the victim Muhammad Ameen, was among the witnesses of the execution.

For Human Rights Focus Pakistan president Naveed Walter, speaking to AsiaNews, "hanging someone does not do justice and it is not the solution to the problem".

In his Naveed’s view, a "long-term strategy" is needed “to bring positive changes in society and in the lives of the victims, children and girls. The inhumane practice [of sexual violence] will not end with the hanging of the guilty, until adequate security measures are adopted for all citizens."

Other human rights defenders, who consider capital punishment an appropriate punishment for the guilt committed, disagree.

Samson Salamat, president of Rwadari Tehreek (inter-religious movement for tolerance), believes that the punishment imposed on Imran Ali is the way that Pakistan must follow to "increase the scope of justice in an infinity of similar cases in which justice is denied.”

For him, “It also demonstrates the power of the voice of the people: when the people are on the side of justice, nothing can stop it."

Activist and writer Kashif Hussain agrees, noting that Zainab’s rape and murder is not an isolated incident.

"I have read the newspapers for 30 years and I always find the same crimes that are deeply rooted in our society,” he said.

“I am astonished when I see that the masses do not rebel. Sometimes I fear going crazy. In our society there are many other Zainabs waiting for justice. We must not stop; we must continue the fight against the evils that afflict society."

The activist also points the finger at a certain religious mindset. "When we ask for sex education courses, we clash with the reaction of religious groups".

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