A Pakistani serial killer convicted of the rape and murder of the seven-year-old girl Zainab Ansari has been sentenced to death.
Zainab was found dead in a rubbish dump on January 9 in Kasur district near Lahore, in Punjab province, several days after her disappearance.
Mohammad Imran Ali was arrested two weeks after he committed the crime that ignited nationwide protests. Many locals feel that the police displayed incompetence in handling the case.
Family members welcomed the verdict but said Ali should be made to suffer more.
Ehtesham Qadir, the public prosecutor, said while Imran has the right to appeal, the verdict cannot be challenged since Imran confessed to eight similar attacks, including Zainab’s.
In addition to the verdict, Zainab’s family will receive one million Pakistani rupees in compensation by the attacker.
The rape and murder of Zainab Ansari was the 12th such case in Kasur district in the last year, according to local media reports.
At least 10 such cases a day of child abuse are reported in Pakistan, according to Sahil, a non-governmental organisation that works on child protection.
In 2015, more than 200 children were targeted by a criminal gang operating a paedophilia ring in the village of Hussain Khanwala, about 10km south of Kasur.
The children were sexually exploited and recorded on video, with footage being sold and used to blackmail their families, according to a fact-finding report by the Human Rights Commission Pakistan.