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Sleaze slant to child killer suspect ruled out

Punjab chief minister urges media outlets to exercise greater care while reporting on such cases given their sensitivity

Lahore: A government spokesperson has dismissed as “baseless” a journalist’s claim that a suspect arrested in the slaying of eight girls was linked to a child pornography network.

Malik Ahmad Khan said on Friday that investigators found no bank accounts linked to multiple murder suspect Mohammad Imran, who was arrested in connection with the rape and killing of seven-year-old Zainab Ansari earlier this month.

Khan said the interrogation of Imran was initiated on orders from the country’s chief justice, who urged investigators to look into television journalist Shahid Masood’s claims. The Karachi-based journalist insisted before the court on Thursday that Imran could be part of a gang that supplied pornographic videos of children to an international network.

Khan said the journalist’s claim was “baseless and concocted.”

Punjab chief minister Mian Shebaz Sharif said all efforts would be made to ensure that investigations in the case would be hundred per cent facts-based. He was presiding over a meeting of the cabinet’s sub-committee on law and order, on Friday. Addressing the meeting, he said that the joint investigation team (JIT) is working in a thoroughly professional manner and there should be no room for any mistake or negligence in its investigations.

The horrifying cruelty endured by Zainab in Kasur is a matter of concern for the whole nation, he said, calling on every citizen to fulfil their social responsibility and ensure justice for Zainab by approaching the SIT if anybody had any clues to the case.

He said Zainab was the daughter of the entire nation and strenuous efforts were being made to bring those responsible for the crime to book. The creation of any ambiguity about the Zainab murder case is tantamount to trying to affect investigations, he said, and called on the media to discharge their social responsibility carefully keeping in view the sensitive nature of the case. The arrest of a suspect in the case was the result of the hard work of investigation agencies, he said. He said that records of State Bank, Nadra and other agencies would be requested to support investigation of the case. He also promised justice for the other young victim of a similar crime, Asma of Mardan, saying she too was the daughter of the whole nation.

The DNA test of Asma has been completed at a forensic lab

Senior government and police officials also attended the meeting while provincial minister Jehangir Khanzada from Attock and a senior official of the bank supporting the investigations also participated in the meeting through video link.

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