Maid still missing

Abdul Qudoos July 21, 2010

RAHIM YAR KHAN: Police have registered a missing person’s case regarding a 10-year-old domestic helper who went missing two months ago.

According to Soha’s father, Abdul Malik, she was employed with landlord Siddique’s family in the city. “My daughter worked for them in their house located on DPO Office Road and she went missing over two months ago,” he said. Malik said that the family had tortured his 10-year-old daughter over theft allegations. “I came to visit her in May and she was bruised and beaten and when I asked them why they had done this they accused her of stealing,” he said. Soha had been charged with stealing jewellery worth Rs300,000 by her employers wife Nahid Begum. “Yes I beat her up because she refused to give back the money she had stolen. When she wouldn’t tell us where she had hidden the money, she ran away,” Nahid said. “They wouldn’t let me take her back with me and said that I should come back the next day so that they could register the theft case with the police against my little girl,” Malik said, insisting that the charges were completely baseless.

Malik returned to the Siddique residence the next day to find out that his daughter was missing.
“The girl ran away after we questioned her and we immediately informed the police about the theft and that she had gone missing,” Siddique’s son Rizwan said.  Malik said that he and his family were then detained by the landlord’s men and were unable to contact the police. “The police only registered one side of the account because we never got to speak to them,” he said.

According to Malik, he feared that his daughter had been killed and when he threatened to tell the police he and his entire family including his wife, two other daughters and son were detained. “They killed her and disposed off the body, because it has been two months and she is still missing. She has not reached any of our relatives,” he said.

Rizwan said that Soha left home at night with the jewellery, and he suspected that her father had helped her escape in order to take the money. “When he came the next day we detained him to recover the money but when he refused to cooperate, we let him go,” he said. Soha’s mother, Pathani Mai said that she was held by the family for over six hours and was released late at night. “They initially held us in their house but once they released us they placed us in the custody of their men in our village,” she said, adding that the family received threats not to pursue the case and were detained by villagers for nearly two months.

Two days ago, when Malik was released from the villager’s custody he filed a petition with the District and Sessions judge asking for police protection for him and his family. “We want to know what happened to our child but they will kill us if we pursue the matter so we have asked for protection,” he said, adding that the court had directed the police to register a case.

Rahim Yar Khan district police officer (DPO) said that an FIR has been submitted and they had launched an investigation. “We are trying to pursue the investigation from both ends. We are checking with hospitals and morgues as well as trying to follow the money trail,” he said.

Local union council former naib nazim said that he had received a phone call recording that stated that the family had ‘already killed the girl and disposed off the body.’

Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2010.


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