ISLAMABAD: A religious provision in contemporary law may have extricated a judge from charges of torturing a minor housemaid, after the victim’s parents pardoned him and his wife.
The move raised eyebrows, but Additional District and Sessions Judge Raja Khurram Ali Khan heaved a sigh of relief after the family of 10-year-old T*, allegedly employed by him as a maid, forgave the suspects.
The parents and a paternal aunt and uncle of the juvenile housemaid pardoned the sitting judge and his wife, who were allegedly accused of keeping the girl in wrongful confinement, burning her hand over a missing broom, beating her with a ladle, detaining her in a storeroom, and threatening her with even worse.
“I have forgiven him in the name of God,” the girl’s father and others stated in identical affidavits.
In addition, the family while submitting affidavits in favour of the suspects, stated that they looked into the case that was registered against the judge and his wife “on the basis of false and baseless incidents”.
Subsequently, they stated, they have compromised with the judge and his family by using their free will and without any pressure or under any fear.
Father Muhammad Azam, mother Nusrat Bibi, paternal uncle Allah Ditta and paternal aunt Pathani submitted the affidavits and recorded their statements before Additional District and Sessions Judge Raja
They stated that the matter has been settled between the parties, they are satisfied that “co-accused are innocent”, they do not want to pursue the case, and would have no objection with the suspects being granted bail or acquittal as they do not wish to pursue the case further.
“Nothing has been concealed,” they stated, adding that they have a right to take legal action over “false news and reporting”.
The move comes on the heels of the Islamabad Police modifying the original FIR to include assault charges in line with the medical report of the child.
In the medical report, while describing the nature of wounds, the doctor stated that “there is swelling and blackening of right upper and lower eyelid … swelling and burn marks superficial in nature on the torso…abrasion on the right side of the face and over the left ear.” The report noted that the girl had suffered blunt force and burn injuries.
Following the compromise, the girl was handed over to her parents. Earlier, Judge Khan’s wife was granted bail-before-arrest against security bonds of Rs30,000.
When the news first appeared in the media, the top judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had taken notice and directed the IHC registrar to initiate an inquiry in the case. He summoned the suspected judge, the concerned SHO, and the investigation officer, to record statements and submitted the report to the chief justice.
The case, however, was settled before the outcome of the inquiry.
In the FIR, the girl stated that she had been living at the judge’s house for nearly two years after she was brought there.
She claimed that she was often thrashed by the inmates. Most recently, she had accused Maheen, the wife of the judge – of shoving her hands onto a burning stove and then beat her after a broom went missing.
She added that the owners of the house would usually lock her up in a storeroom at night and would often starve her and beat her.
*Name changed to protect identity
Published in The Express Tribune, January 4th, 2017.