LAHORE: The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on Sunday conducted a suo moto hearing on case pertaining to Zainab’s rape and murder in Lahore Registry. The head of the joint investigation team (JIT) probing the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab submitted the progress report in the Supreme Court.

A special bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, resumed hearing its suo motu notice of the brutal murder at its Lahore Registry on Sunday.

At the last hearing on Tuesday, the two-member bench, comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, had summoned the JIT probing the incident as well as the head of the Punjab Forensic Science Agency.

As the bench settled in, Pakistan Bar Vice Chairman Ahsan Bhoon said the parents of Zainab and seven other girls, all victims of child abuse, are en route for the hearing.Chief Justice Nisar then remarked that they will begin proceedings once the parents are here.

The joint investigation team (JIT) head Muhammad Idrees submitted report in the court. Punjab Inspector General (IG) and DPO Kasur Zahid Nawaz Marwat were present on the occasion as well along with the parents of other seven girls who got murdered earlier.

As the hearing went under way, JIT head DIG Muhammad Idrees informed the court that Zainab’s was the eighth incident of child abuse in Kasur since June 2015.Expressing displeasure, the chief justice remarked that the SHOs of the two police stations, in whose jurisdictions the incidents occurred for over two years, were not removed despite so many incidents.

The JIT head informed the bench further that on January 4, Zainab was going to her Khala’s [maternal aunt] house which was 300 metres away.

Dr Ashraf of the forensic agency said it is unclear from the CCTV footage if the girl in the video is indeed Zainab. The court observed that had the police been serious since 2015, so many cases would not have occurred. When the bench was informed of the 800 DNA tests conducted in the case and their awaiting results, the chief justice remarked that the police has other traditional methods of investigation as well other than waiting on DNA tests.

“The way the police are going, entire 210 million people of Pakistan will have to take DNA tests,” the chief justice remarked. The hearing was then shifted inside a private room on the request of the forensic agency’s head.

The chief justice will also hear the suo motu notices of Lahore’s pollution, hospital waste management, high fees in medical colleges and substandard law colleges. During the proceedings at the last hearing, Punjab additional inspector general (AIG) and advocate general (AG) appeared before the court.

Addressing the officials, the chief justice remarked that no significant progress in the case was visible so far, adding that “the entire nation is aggrieved by the incident”.

“If the issue isn’t solved then it’ll be a failure of the government and police,” the chief justice observed, adding that the same mistakes are made in every case after which suspects are exonerated due to shoddy investigations. The AIG informed the court that eight similar cases emerged in Kasur since the last year and a half.

Chief Justice Nisar observed that millions of rupees are spent on safe city projects, adding that there should be a firm belief that the killer will be caught as the court doesn’t “want the suspect caught and killed in an encounter”.

During the hearing, the chief justice also remarked that the accused in the Zainab case is a serial killer. Chief Justice Nisar had taken a suo motu notice of the case on January 10. It is worth mentioning here that Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had expressed annoyance over lack of progress in Zainab murder case during the previous hearing.

Mian Saqib Nisar had remarked that the whole nation is saddened over this incident. Zainab was kidnapped on January 4 from near her aunt’s house in Kasur. Her body was discovered five days later from a garbage pile. The post-mortem report revealed that Zainab had been raped and murdered.