Zainab case: TV anchor Masood tells court suspect has 37 foreign accounts

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The rape and murder case of six-year-old Zainab Amin and six to seven other children in Kasur, Pakistan, took another sinister turn on Thursday. The country’s top court had summoned a TV anchor Shahid Masood in order for him to provide clarity on revelations he made regarding the suspect in the case during a late show

Masood had in live comments alleged that Zainab’s suspected rapist and murderer was part of a pornography gang in which a Punjab minister was also involved, according to a report in Pakistan's prominent newspaper Dawn.

Masood and Punjab additional advocate general Asma Hamid were both present in court during Thursday's hearing.

Mian Saqib Nisar, Chief Justice of Pakistan, asked the TV anchor to give in writing the names of the minister and another prominent individual that he had mentioned during the episode.

Masood then handed over the names written on a piece of paper to the CJP.

After watching Masood’s TV show in court, the three-judge bench asked the Punjab Police chief Arif Nawaz Khan and a joint investigation team (JIT) to check out the evidence.

Punjab additional advocate general Asma Hamid who was present during the hearing told the court that after the show was aired, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had already formed a six-member probe team.

International gang

Masood revelation in court that the suspect in custody was a “member of an international ring” and is not “mentally challenged or simpleminded”, as is being portrayed. He also said that the suspect had 37 foreign currency bank accounts, and more shockingly patronage from the country’s most important personality and a minister.

Masood also raised concerns over the security of the suspect, saying there was a possibility that he would be killed in police custody. He asked the court to order that the suspect be kept in the custody of an intelligence agency.

“The suspect's security should be foolproof,” the Chief Justice responded.

Masood also provided details of the suspect's 37 bank accounts to the court.

“If these accusations are incorrect, it will not be good,” the CJP warned.

The case was adjourned until Monday.

According to DawnNews, after today’s hearing,the provincial Home Department had issued a notification adding two new members – a senior officer of the State Bank of Pakistan and a director of the Punjab Forensic Science Agency - to the existing JIT probing the case in light of revelations presented in court.

Zainab was raped and killed and her body was recovered from a trash heap in Kasur on Jan 9, five days after she went missing from home.