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Child maid torture: Girl had burns, blunt wounds

Child maid torture: Girl had burns, blunt wounds

By Rizwan Shehzad

ISLAMABAD: A doctor testified before the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday that the juvenile housemaid, who had been rescued from the house of an additional district and sessions judge in the capital, had superficial burns and wounds caused by a blunt object.

The witness, who was part of the panel of doctors who had conducted the medical examination of the minor housemaid, recorded a statement before Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC on Tuesday.

He stated that the girl had burn marks, blackening under the eyelids, abrasions on the skin while her face was swollen.

The doctor said that they had first medically examined the child at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) on December 29, 2016. At the time, he said, the wounds on her body appeared to be about a day old. He added that the girl had been accompanied by ASI Shabbir Ahmad and Lady Head Constable Maryam Bibi at the tertiary care hospital.

During cross-examination, the doctor admitted that he could not confirm whether the wounds had been inflicted by someone or were accidental.

Documents have revealed that Additional District and Sessions Judge Raja Khurram and his wife Maheen Zafar, were charged for allegedly assaulting, confining, ill-treating, neglecting, abandoning, harming and injuring the minor housemaid.

The couple, though, had pleaded ‘not guilty’ after they were indicted. They are currently standing trial.

The gruesome story of the juvenile maid was picked up by the media after it first went viral on social media on December 29. Subsequently, the police registered a case and the Islamabad High Court’s top judge also took notice and directed the registrar to initiate an inquiry.

Recently, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani during the hearing of the case had revealed that he had concluded an internal inquiry which found the judge to be guilty while suggesting “major punishment”.

The counsel then raised objection over the single bench conducting trial and inquiry of the case and the court sent the case back to the IHC chief justice.

Subsequently, the chief justice of the IHC placed the case before Justice Farooq and he resumed the case from where Justice Kayani had left it.

Previously, Justice Farooq had issued notices to a panel of doctors who had conducted a medical examination of the minor housemaid who had been allegedly tortured at the residence of the sessions judge of the capital.

In January, a member of the medical board at Pims had said that it was possible that the 10-year-old housemaid had been a victim of torture and abuse, however, it was up to the police to investigate and determine whether these injuries were the result of torture or not.

On May 23, the minor girl at the centre of the case had recorded her statement before the IHC against the suspects.

In her statement, the 10-year-old girl told the court that it was Zafar who had allegedly burnt her hand, her back and struck her with a ladle resulting in injuries to her hand, eye and back. All this happened, she said, while she was working in “Maheen Baji’s house” a few months ago.

On May 24, she was cross-examined where she could not answer several questions, including what is ‘swear’, ‘oath’, characteristics of a city, name of the country she was living in, the difference between years and months and where she had lived before coming to Islamabad.

Three other witnesses, who have previously recorded their statements in the case, told the court that they saw the child in an injured condition, provided her with medical care, food, comforter. One of the witnesses said that they had taken the child’s photographs with her mobile phone which was later posted on social media.

During the cross-questioning, the defence counsel had tried to establish that the witnesses never actually saw the judge, his wife or any other torturing the child maid or heard anything which could indicate that the minor was being tortured next door.

Following the hearing, the case was adjourned with directions that the registrar office would fix the next date of hearing.

The Express Tribune

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