ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday expressed its doubts over statements made by the father of a juvenile housemaid, who had allegedly been tortured at the house of a judge after he deviated from his past statement.
“This is a classic case of perjury. Either he is telling the truth now or whatever he said earlier was the truth,” remarked an irate Justice Aamer Farooq of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) when child maid’s father recorded his statement before the court in the case.
The man had been declared a ‘hostile witness’ after he gave a statement which was contradictory to his past statements. Apparently, while recording his statement, he also states some things which were not in congruence with his response during a cross-examination.
The court was hearing the case pertaining to alleged assault, confinement, ill-treatment and abandoning of a 10-year-old housemaid by an Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) and his wife in the capital around a year ago.
The girl’s father told the court on Tuesday that his wife and the child’s mother passed away on Muharram 13. When asked what would the date be in the Georgian calendar, the man said he was not aware of the calendar date.
In the statement he recorded before the court on Tuesday, the man could not recall any of the key dates in the case, including when did he appear before the “Choti Court” [subordinate court] and the “Bari Court” [Supreme and High Courts].
While answering questions posed by the Advocate General Islamabad Mian Abdul Rauf, the maid’s father said that he did not know what was contained in an application filed before a district court seeking custody of his daughter.
He, however, confirmed that he had sent his daughter to work at the house of a judge in the capital and that the received Rs18,000 as six months’ salary for the girl. The girl, though, had worked for only two months at the judge’s house.
Moreover, he said that he had not met with the judge or his wife and that no one was involved in the compromise.
Despite that, the father of the 10-year-old girl reiterated that he had forgiven the accused “in the name of God”.
Moreover, he said that his daughter only had one injury on her hand and that he was unaware of the other injuries found by a panel of doctors.
During his cross-examination, the girl’s father at one point told defence counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi that after he had asked the AG and some others to arrange a meeting with his daughter during a previous hearing, they had allegedly asked him to tell the court that, “Maheen Zafar Baji [accused judge’s wife ] had tortured his daughter”.
The child maid’s father further said that they did not directly approach the judge or vice versa in appointing the 10-year-old as a maid, noting that his wife had left their daughter at the residence of a woman, who, after consulting with his wife, had left the child at the judge’s house.
During the cross-questioning, he revealed that his wife had twice met with his daughter and he had only met with her on one occasion during the time she worked at the judge’s house, adding that they also used to remain in contact with their daughter over the phone.
He further said that he and his wife were satisfied with the environment they saw at the judge’s house, adding that his daughter was never maltreated by the suspects.
“I would not have compromised with them [the judge] had they maltreated my child.”
Before working at judge’s house, the witness said that all members of his family, including the girl, used to work at a brick kiln.
He further confirmed that he received “routine financial assistance” from the judge which was not a salary.
Earlier, a policeman Azhar Hussain recorded his statement. He had lodged FIR on December 29, 2016.
Contempt notice to lawyer
Meanwhile, Justice Farooq issued a contempt notice to an associate of the defence counsel after he was caught recording court proceedings through his mobile phone.
“Do you want to end your career even before it has started,” Justice Farooq boomed while reprimanding Abbasi’s associate.
When asked, the young lawyer pleaded innocence about the rule prohibiting the use of cell phones in courtrooms. He further explained that the exercise was academic since he was trying to take notes of the hearing to ensure he did not miss anything.
Justice Farooq asked if the lawyer had missed the large notification posted in the courtroom strictly prohibiting the use of phones.
“It amounts to contempt of court,” the judge observed and ordered to confiscate the associate’s mobile phone.
Justice Farooq said that if lawyers do not honour the courts then who would honour the judiciary, adding that a lawyer’s career could end if his case was referred to the bar council.
The court, however, accepted lawyer’s unconditional apology after a few minutes and directed the court staff to return the phone after deleting the relevant recording.
Justice Farooq warned young lawyers of being mindful of the rules.
Moreover, the court issued bailable warrants of arrest for a witness, Gul Daraz, for failing to appear before the court on Tuesday and directed police to procure his attendance for the hearing scheduled for Friday [February 9].
The court would resume hearing on February 7 and record statement of another witness.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2018.