Zainab’s Murder: Heinous Crimes, Speedy Trial and the Challenge of Procedural Rights

  • Ali Chughtai


In early 2018, a seven-year old girl, Zainab Amin, was raped and murdered in district Kasur, Punjab province, Pakistan. The cold-blooded incident shocked the people across the country. These questions included the suspect’s confession before trial, the in-camera trial being completed within four consecutive working days, the cross-examination of 56 witnesses, and the paucity of time given to the defence counsel. In this paper I argue that although such heinous offences should be awarded legally warranted punishment, the courts must ensure that the special criminal procedure does not let go the principle of due process. I take Zainab’s case as an example to see whether the principle of due process and procedural rights of the suspect were ensured as required for a fair trial. The paper puts to critical light the chronological facts of the case (as reported in the press) and relies on applied jurisprudence to underscore the potential/danger of letting go the due process and procedural rights in speedy trials.