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‘Slave’ girl escapes from captivity in DHA

Karachi: Seven-year-old Saba, who was allegedly kept in captivity as a slave by her employers, managed to escape dramatically from an apartment in the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) area.

Saba, who had allegedly been purchased from Punjab by her captors, was trying to escape from the second floor of an apartment situated above a local bank in the Shahbaz commercial area when some passers-by saw her hanging precariously from a window grill.

“She was holding onto the railing of a window and she might have suffered serious injuries had she fallen from that height,” said a resident of DHA, Munim, who is a banker by profession and one of the passers-by who saw young Saba hanging for her life.

He informed The News, on Sunday, that the seven-year-old girl had actually jumped from the second floor, but, during her fall, had luckily managed to get a hold of the grill of a window of an apartment located on first floor.

Munim said that he was driving past the area on Saturday at 3.30 p.m. when he saw a girl hanging precariously from a grill.

He and another person of the area rushed to help her down and, after hearing her story, took her to the Edhi Foundation, he said, adding: “We were informed there that first we should register an FIR and then they would accommodate her”.

According to Munim, they later took her to the Darakhshan police station where an FIR was registered on her startling disclosures.

“The girl was very hungry and it seemed from her appearance and demeanour that she had not had food for a long time,” he said and added that some snacks were given to her at the police station, which she hurriedly and anxiously consumed. According to Munim, the girl told the police that her “captors” made her do all sorts of manual labour around the house and, in exchange, she got nothing but paltry meals.

When The News contacted SHO Darakhshan Zia Hassan Rizvi, he said that an FIR has been registered against the girl’s captors for violating human rights and keeping her in illegal confinement as a slave.

Rizvi said that Saba told the police that she was from some area in Punjab and that her captives had bought her from her parents, who were not able to provide for her.

Giving further details, the girl told the police that the couple used to lock her in the apartment from morning till evening while they were out for work. He said that the police raided the apartment but the couple had already fled.

“This is one of the worst criminal acts, and I have never dealt with such a case in my entire career,” he said.

Giving an update on the situation, he said that the girl has been sent to the orphanage home of the Edhi Foundation, adding, “We are also searching for the parents of the girl”. “In the western world, even parents’ inability to look after their child is considered an unlawful act,” Rizvi said.
Source: The News
Date:11/24/2008

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