A 10-year-old girl, who worked as a maid at a lawyer’s house, sought refuge at a neighbour’s house on Tuesday night after being beaten for days by a witch doctor to free her from djinns’ possession.
According to the child, Sara, her employee believed that she was possessed.
The lawyer has gone into hiding, along with his family, according to the police after Sara’s escape.
A medical examination conducted at the Nister Hospital proved that Sara, the maid, had been subjected to severe torture for many days.
Dr Tasleem Kausar, who examined the child, told The Express Tribune that Sara had torture marks on her back and around her eyes.
Sara, a Faisalabad resident, said that she had been working as a maid at Advocate Mujahid’s house in Mohalla Qadeerabad of Multan for three years. She said Mujahid used to take her and his wife to a witch doctor. She said that the witch doctor used to torture her with hot iron and rods.
“My employer believed that his wife was possessed. Later, he started insisting that I had also been possessed,” Sara said. Referring to her visits to the witch doctor she continued, “I was asked to close my eyes and tell them what I saw.” She said that if she did not respond to the witch doctor’s questions, Mujahid would beat her up with iron rods.
She said that she was not allowed to leave the house but on Tuesday night she found a chance and escaped. She sought refuge at a neighbour’s house.
Usman Chisti, the neighbour who gave Sara shelter, said that he and his wife were about to go to bed when they heard a knock at the door. “I opened the door and recognised her,” Chisti’s wife said, “she burst into tears and asked me to protect her from her employer.” She said that she brought the child in and called the Chehlek police station.
The police have registered a case against Mujahid under Sections 354 (to keep someone in illegal custody), 337-A1, A2, L2 and V5 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Rana Zaheer Babar, the station house officer (SHO), said that he intended to add the Section 324 (attempted murder) to the FIR.
He said that the police were conducting raids for the arrest of the accused, adding, that he hoped Mujahid would be traced in another couple of days. The child is under treatment at the Nishter Hospital. Dr Waseem, a medical officer, said that a team of doctors was monitoring Sara’s condition. He said that an eye specialist would soon be called to examine the swelling around her eyes.
The name of the child has been changed
Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2010.