ISLAMABAD: The child maid torture case took a new turn on Friday when the 10-year-old victim’s father told a judge that the torture case, registered against a sessions judge and his wife on the complaint of his daughter, was ‘baseless’.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Raja Asif Mehmood granted bail-before-arrest to his former colleague ADSJ Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife Maheen Zafar in the housemaid torture case after the victim’s father and other family members said the judge and his wife were innocent and had not tortured the child.
When ADSJ Mehmood took up the bail applications of Khan and Zafar on Friday, Tayyaba’s father Muhammad Azam submitted an affidavit through his lawyer Raja Zahoorul Hassan saying that the couple were innocent and not involved in the case.
ADSJ Khan and his wife were booked by the Industrial Area police on December 29, 2016, after the 10-year-old victim accused them of keeping her in wrongful confinement, burning her hand, beating her with a ladle, detaining her in a storeroom, and threatening her.
“The case is registered on the basis of false and baseless incidents … I have no objection if they are granted bail or acquitted in the case … Neither I want any action against Raja Khurram Ali Khan and Maheen Zafar, nor I wish to pursue the case against them,” read the affidavit.
Tayyaba’s father as well as her paternal grandmother Rani Begum also told the court that they had submitted an application to the police to take action against the ‘real culprits’.
The judge had the affidavit read out to Azam and other family members and repeatedly asked if they were giving this statement under any duress. Azam said he was under no pressure and verified the contents of the affidavits before putting his signature on it. Later, the judge approved bail pleas of both the suspects.
Outside the courtroom, Tayyaba’s father and grandmother seemed unable to answer questions about their claims that the couple were not involved in torturing their daughter. “I don’t know anything … All we want is to get our daughter back,” said Tayyaba’s grandmother.
Meanwhile, the lawyers and bar representatives again made the claims that it was a conspiracy against the judge.
It is pertinent to note that Tayyaba’s parents had submitted similar affidavits before the same judge on January 3 saying they had agreed on a settlement (raazinama) with the accused and had forgiven them. The Supreme Court, however, had taken a suo motu notice of the issue, exercising parental jurisdiction and overruling the pardon granted by the victim’s parents.
Friday’s hearing was almost a repeat of January 3 hearing where the same lawyer, Raja Zahoor, had produced the same affidavits before the same judge.
Parents’ claim contrary to police investigation
Parents’ claim that the judge and his wife were not involved in torturing the child is also contrary to the police investigation report which held the judge’s wife responsible for the child’s torture.
Police sources told The Express Tribune that they had also held the judge responsible for negligence and cruelty under Section 328-A (cruelty to a child) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Currently, the sessions court, the Islamabad High Court and the Supreme Court are simultaneously dealing with different aspects of the minor maid’s case. The SC is conducting suo motu proceedings; the IHC is conducting an inquiry against the judge while the district judiciary is handling the routine proceedings of the case.
During January 31’s hearing, the apex court had also tasked the IHC to apprise the court where the trial of the case should be conducted.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2017.