Rail Bazaar police on Wednesday recovered a three-year-old kept chained by her father at the roof of his house for three days because ‘she wanted to be with her mother’ who had been living with her parents since her divorce two years ago.
The child’s father Muhammad Ali*, a resident of Karkhana Bazaar, and four of his family members arrested during the raid were remanded in judicial custody on Thursday.
The child was handed over to a maternal uncle, Muhammad Ismail*, who had been called by the police to attend the court hearing. Ismail told the court that his sister had left Ali because of his “cruel behaviour”.
Child Protection and Welfare Bureau had earlier declined a request by the court to look after the child. They said they only looked after homeless and street children and pointed out that the child was neither.
Station House Officer Rana Ataullah said that during interrogation Ali told the police that Alina had been asking for her mother for a few days. “She used to cry all the time and said she wanted to be with her mother. I couldn’t take it any longer and decided to lock her on the roof. I thought this would make her forget her mother,” he said.
Ali said he and Saleema had been divorced for two years. Of their four children, a daughter died some six months after their separation. One of their two sons, Abid*, was later adopted by a friend of Faisal’s. Only six-year-old Hasan* and Alina now lived with him.
Eight people have been named in the FIR filed by Ali’s neighbour, Muhammad Sagheer*, under Section 343 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and 35 of Child Protection Act of 2004.
Besides Faisal, police have arrested his four brothers. Others nominated in the FIR are the child’s grandparents and an aunt.
Sagheer said he had spotted the child chained at the roof of the house on Wednesday morning after he went upstairs following a child’s cries. He said Alina, who was wearing only a pair of shorts, was not properly protected against the weather. He said he called the police to the spot who released the child.
Sagheer said Ali and his wife Saleema used to fight every other day before their divorce. He said at several occasions his family had to intervene to protect Saleema from Ali.
*Names have been changed to protect identity of the victim
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2011.