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Minor maid tortured to death; masters held

LAHORE: A 10-year-old orphan girl, who was working as maid at a house in Askari IX in Cantonment, was ‘brutally’ tortured to death allegedly by her master and his family members on early Friday.

Police took three family members into custody and booked them and two other unidentified persons in a murder case.

The incident happened at the residence of a trader who suspected her maid Iram of Okara had stolen Rs20,000 cash and handed it to her mother.

Cantonment SP (Operations) Umer Riaz said Iram, daughter of Ramzan of Chandraka, Okara, was employed by Altaaf Mehmood some two-and-a-half months ago.

He said Altaaf, his wife Nasira and their son Ibrar started torturing Iram with gas and plastic pipes after leveling allegations on her that she had stolen some cash. The girl was tied and tortured for two days and when her condition deteriorated on Thursday midnight she was taken to Services Hospital where paramedics pronounced her dead, the SP said.

Riaz said that Altaaf and his son Ibrar, who had escaped after dropping the girl at hospital, were taken into custody. Altaaf’s wife Nasira was also detained by police.

Altaaf and Nasira gave conflicting statements to police as the former claimed that his wife was a mental patient while the latter told police that she herself beat the girl to death on suspicion of theft.

Rizwan Haider, the victim’s eldest brother, told Dawn by phone that his uncle Ali Sher took the responsibility of the girl for employing her at Altaaf’s home.

He said the employer agreed to pay Rs3,000 per month, adding the family could not meet Iram, the youngest among six brothers and sisters, during the period despite a couple of visits as each time the society watchmen would send them back claiming Iram had gone along with the family outside Lahore. “During my visit, I was told that male members were now allowed to meet Iram,” he said.

Haider, who is a prayer leader at a local mosque, said his mother Zubaida Khatoon tried to meet Iram on Dec 30, but she was not allowed by the watchmen who again claimed the girl had gone to Murree along with the family.

He said on Thursday he and his mother went to see the ill son of Ali Sher at Services Hospital and then reached Askari IX at around 7pm with a decision that they would bring Iram back in any case.

“Once again we were not allowed to meet Iram. We returned to Services Hospital where Altaaf brought Iram at the hospital at around 1:18am.

Altaaf told Ali Sher at around 7pm that Iram was not feeling well, but they took her to hospital after five hours,” he said.

Meanwhile, the family took the girl to native town after the post-mortem examination.

Haider also held his uncle responsible for the incident, saying he would pursue the case against the accused family till their hanging.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has expressed sorrow and grief over the killing of a 10-year-old housemaid.

Sympathizing with victim’s family, the chief minister said the incident was highly shocking.

He directed the police to take stern action against the accused involved in this tragic incident and the provision of justice to aggrieved family should be ensured at all costs.