Child torture case: Order on compromise reserved by IHC

Girl’s father tells court he has forgiven judge, wife

Rizwan Shehzad May 11, 2017
Girl’s father tells court he has forgiven judge, wife. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday reserved its order on the compromise struck between a sessions’ judge, his wife and the parents of a minor girl who had allegedly been tortured at the former’s home.

If the order accepts the compromise – where the parents of the girl had forgiven the judge and his wife ‘in the name of God’, the latter may be able to walk free.

However, if the high court decides otherwise, then the case would proceed towards indictment and a formal trial would begin.

On Wednesday, Mohammad Azam, the father of the minor girl who was allegedly tortured in the judge’s house, appeared before the court and recorded his statement - once again exonerating the judge and his wife of all charges.

He appeared before the court in compliance with an order passed on previous hearing.

Justice Kayani had ordered the authorities to produce parents of the juvenile housemaid on May 10 so that their statements could be recorded and verified against the affidavits which they had submitted earlier, pardoning the judge and his wife.

The Additional District and Sessions Judge Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife Maheen Zafar were booked after the girl had accused them of keeping her in wrongful confinement, burning her hand over a missing broom, beating her with a ladle, detaining her in the storeroom and threatening her of even worse.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Azam told the court that he had forgiven the suspects in the name of God and would have no objection if they were acquitted of all charges.

The counsel for the suspects said that the guardians of the minor had a right to reach a compromise under the law.

However, Islamabad Advocate General Mian Abdul Rauf argued that it was state's discretion to proceed against the suspects when a minor was involved.

At the last hearing of the case, Justice Kayani had asked the AG if there was any legal hindrance if the parents of the minor entered into a compromise with the suspects. Rauf had subsequently told the court that the Supreme Court had exercised parental jurisdiction in the case.

In January, the apex court had overruled the pardon granted to the suspects and exercised parental jurisdiction in the matter. Rauf reiterated that the matter was not compoundable.

Earlier, the parents of the 10-year-old girl had again submitted before the court that they had forgiven what happened to their daughter. The girl’s father and mother Nusrat Bibi stated in the affidavits that they had forgiven the judge and his wife “in the name of God”.

The family further stated that they had looked into the case which had been registered against the judge and his wife “on the basis of false and baseless incidents”. Subsequently, they stated, they had struck a compromise with the judge and his wife through their own free will and without any pressure or fear.

Stating that the matter between the parties stood settled, they expressed their satisfaction that the “co-accused are innocent”. Azam and Nusrat stated that they do not wish to pursue the case, and would have no objection if the suspects were granted bail or were acquitted.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2017.

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