Police say they hope to locate by Monday (today) the family, who allegedly tortured their 15-year-old maid to death on Saturday.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Assistant Sub Inspector Muhammad Waseem said that several places had been raided since Saturday. He said SP (Investigation) Rana Muhammad Azeem had supervised the raids.
Asif Butt and his wife Saima are accused of torturing their 15-year-old maid, Rubia, to death over suspicions of a theft. Her parents said they sent her body to them on Saturday saying that she had died after falling from the stairs.
The girl’s father, Muhammad Yaqoob, rejected the claim and had registered an FIR against Saima, and her sisters, Mehreen and Mahwish.
Police officials said that there were several injures and bruises on the body.
Rubia’s death has attracted a strong reaction from child rights activists in Lahore. Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) has said this is the 17th case of violence against domestic child workers reported since January 2010.
A statement issued by SPARC on Saturday stated that in such a case families of the victims were pressured to settle cases out of court. It said the children were ‘exploited’ in various ways.
Rashid Aziz, manager of the SPARC’s legal advisory unit, said that a majority of such cases were reported from the Punjab. He said Rubia was the second victim of violence against domestic child labourers in 2012 so far. Aziz said that children were being employed at wages as low as Rs1,500 to Rs2,000 per month.
“The middle man is often told by the employers to ensure that the child will visit the family,” he said. “A great deal of abuse and violence over prolonged periods going unnoticed by the families.”
In September last year, more than 20 non government organisations in the Punjab had demanded that child domestic labour be included in the list of occupations banned on account of hazards.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2012.