By Malik Asad
ISLAMABAD: The wife of Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Raja Khurram Ali Khan on Monday moved an application with a local court, seeking pre-arrest bail in the case of the abused child maid, whose father seems reluctant in pursuing the case.
After an application was filed by ADSJ Khan’s wife Maheen, ADSJ Raja Mehmood issued a notice to the Industrial Area police to submit reply by Jan 3.
Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife are facing charges of keeping a juvenile housemaid in the wrongful confinement, burning her hand for a missing broom, beating her with a ladle, detaining her in a storeroom and threatening her.
A physician at the Women Crisis Centre where the child is being kept has found other scars on her body as well and recommended a detailed checkup. However, since the additional deputy commissioner general was on leave on Monday, the checkup was put off to Tuesday, sources in the National Child Protection Centre said.
According to sources in the district courts, Mohammad Azam, the father of the child maid, has already informed the court via a written statement that he was not interested in pursuing the case.
The sources said Mr Azam’s reluctance was due to financial constraints. The victim’s father lives in a remote village in Tehsil Jaranwala in Faisalabad and says he does not have money to hire a lawyer for fighting a case in Islamabad.
The Child Protection and Welfare Bureau of Punjab has offered Mr Azam legal aid. When Dawn contacted him and reminded him that he could avail free legal assistance, he said he was not ready to contest the case at the moment.
The police have registered a case against ADSJ Khan and his wife under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code including section 337 for injuring, 342 for illegal confinement and 506 for intimidation. All of these offences are bailable and compoundable. According to section 345 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), the “persons to whom offence is caused” may pardon the accused for the above mentioned offences without the permission of the court. In case of housemaid, who is not 10 yet, her father may forgive the accused persons, according to a senior judicial officer in the district courts.
The case of the alleged torture of the child maid by the ADSJ’s family was reported on the social media on Dec 28 and it took 24 hours to register a case at the Industrial Area police station with the FIR registered in the evening of Dec 29.
Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Mohammad Anwar Khan Kasi ordered an inquiry into the matter and the IHC registrar submitted a report to the CJ after conducting a probe.
ADSJ Khan was also suspended in 2013 over the misuse of authority and faced an inquiry but resumed office after eight months. The accused and his elder brother, civil judge Raja Farrukh Ali Khan, have been working in the sessions’ court east for the last few years.