Physical abuse: Child maid beaten to death in Lahore

Published: January 4, 2014
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Police said the girl’s body bore marks of physical abuse, but the exact cause of death would be determined following an autopsy report. PHOTO: FILE

Police said the girl’s body bore marks of physical abuse, but the exact cause of death would be determined following an autopsy report. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: 

A 10-year-old domestic helper was allegedly beaten to death on Thursday night by her employers who accused her of theft.

Iram worked at the home of Altaf Mehmood, his wife Nasira Altaf and their two children in the city’s Askari Nine neighbourhood.

She was taken to Services Hospital by Mehmood and his wife in a critical condition but died en route to the hospital. Police said the girl’s body bore marks of physical abuse, but the exact cause of death would be determined following an autopsy report. Iram’s hands and feet had rope marks on them, as she was allegedly tied by the family and beaten with a plastic pipe. Doctors at the hospital told The Express Tribune that they have yet to determine if she was sexually assaulted as well. The body was transferred to Mayo Hospital and then handed to the girl’s family following medico-legal formalities.

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Iram, a resident of Okara, was hired by Altaf Mehmood, a shoe trader, as a domestic helper and received a monthly pay of Rs2,500. SP Cantt division Umar Riaz Cheema told The Express Tribune that Mehmood’s wife, Nasira, confessed to killing the girl, saying she beat her because she believed Iram had stolen Rs30,000 from the family. The couple and their son, Abrar, were taken into custody by the police and legal action was initiated under sections 302 (murder) and 34 (constructive criminality, liability of all for acts done by one or more) while their daughter was asked to aid the investigation, according to SP Cheema.

SP Umar Riaz said the family stated during interrogation that Nasira was not mentally stable and had therefore acted in such a manner. He indicated that the family may have invented the claim to avoid murder charges, adding that police will submit a challan of the case as soon as possible, following Nasira’s confession. Even in instances of mental instability, it is the responsibility of another adult (in this case Altaf Mehmood] to see that any life threatening incident does not occur, Riaz said.

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The challan will hold Mehmood equally culpable for the crime his wife committed, he explained. It would be difficult to attribute responsibility to each family member according to his or her participation in the crime, Riaz said, and all family members may be held equally liable for the criminal act, under Section 34.

Iram’s widowed mother, Zubaida, told police she had arrived in Lahore from Okara on Thursday, accompanied by her son, and learned of the accusation of theft. She added that she had not been allowed to meet her daughter. Iram is the eldest of five siblings. SP Cheema said the family is provided with security and have been advised to contact the police if they faced intimidation by anyone with regards to the case.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 4th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • Qazi Sohail Ahmad
    Jan 4, 2014 - 3:25AM

    Sad. But we all know the rest of the story ! blood money will be payed to the poor family and the case will be discharged ! such is the justice system in Pakistan.

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  • Voice with Pain
    Jan 4, 2014 - 3:38AM

    Cry with Blood Tears……Who says its a Muslim society.

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  • Skhan
    Jan 4, 2014 - 3:58AM

    These animals deserves to be punished hard! how insane…

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  • Khurram Awan
    Jan 4, 2014 - 5:23AM

    Already the Death penalty is over in Pakistan so all Murderers can live with peace as the maximum sentence they will get is life term and that too is pretty easy in corrupt Pakistan. There are many Murderers who were given life terms but in papers they live in Jail but in reality they are out enjoying their life If the Murderer Couple have money then they dont have to worry at all.

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  • Jibran
    Jan 4, 2014 - 5:47AM

    SP Cantt Umar Riaz said the family stated during interrogation that Nasira was not mentally stable and had therefore acted in such a manner.

    Minor orphan girl is no match to the inhabitants of the Cantt. She is no Shahzeb son of a mighty DSP. Neither is the perpetrator a Sindhi feudal, a crucial ingredient needed for shaking the conscience of the urban twitter brigade. Soon, the culprits will get a clean chit by the police, and will go on to torture their next victim to death.

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  • Sexton Blake
    Jan 4, 2014 - 5:50AM

    Pakistan is really in third world status if 10 year old children have to work as domestic servants.

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  • Jibran
    Jan 4, 2014 - 5:52AM

    10 year old domestic worker? Tortured to death. Pakistan is a sick, stagnant, dying society, with absolutely no morals. Abuse of child domestic workers is common within our cities mostly in northern Punjab by our “educated” people.

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  • Baji Jee
    Jan 4, 2014 - 5:52AM

    My God, the girl was an orphan! Where is humanity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • MythicalCMD
    Jan 4, 2014 - 8:53AM

    Please stone them to death. PLEASE!!!

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  • SHB
    Jan 4, 2014 - 9:05AM

    In addition to punishment by law, the house , if owned by the couple, should be confiscated and given to this girl ‘s family. Hiring ten yrs old as servant is criminal action.
    This culture of hiring young children as servants must be finished.

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  • farhan
    Jan 4, 2014 - 9:19AM

    Let’s try Musharraf first….This can wait.

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  • Iram
    Jan 4, 2014 - 10:05AM

    I have a question for liberal we mostly criticize religious law but what about present law?

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  • nuyam
    Jan 4, 2014 - 10:22AM

    I have seen this happening in my house everyday i.e. insulting of maid / house boy. Please do not use force with your domestic help, be Human

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  • True Karachiwala
    Jan 4, 2014 - 12:06PM

    This kind of sad news comes regularly from Lahore.

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  • Jan 4, 2014 - 1:13PM

    Ten year old child do not know what is right or wrong. Even my children steal sweets and biscuits and eat. One child steal the toys of other child. This is a healthy sign of their mental growth. They will stop this when they grow matured. While these fellows make their children live a happy life, killing an innocent child servant is a major criminal act. They should be tried under Child Labour act, and also other sections of Criminal Procedure Code.

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  • Stranger
    Jan 4, 2014 - 1:20PM

    National shame .

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  • Arshad Mahmood
    Jan 4, 2014 - 8:26PM

    Iram’s cruel torture to death is not the first case where a child domestic worker has been tortured to death in Pakistan. Approximately 45 cases of violance against child domestic workers were reported in media since Shazia Masih’s torture to death in January 2010 in Lahore. Iram is 22nd child domestic worker tortured to death and majority of these cases have been reported in Punjab.

    If someone has any doubts, please google Shazia Masih (Lahore), Yasmin (OKara), Shehzad (Gujranwala) Tehmina (Islamabad) to name a few. All these cases show that child domestic labour is one of the deadliest form of child labour in Pakistan. However, the federal and provincial governments in Pakistan have failed to respond to the situation. I’ll request Chief Minister Punjab to take a proactive action and immediately ban child domestic labour under the schedule of banned occupations of the Punjab Employment of Children (Amendment) Act 2011. I understand that policing may not be an effective way to respond to the situation however, banning child domestic labour can be a good deterrence particularly for parliamentarians and government servants.

    For resolving the issue of child labour on sustainable basis in Pakistan, the federal and provincial governments should make serious efforst to implement Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan about right to free and compulsory education for children 5 to 16. The Government of Punjab should immediately enact the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill and make sufficient budgetary allocation for the implementation of the law.

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  • SHB
    Jan 4, 2014 - 11:58PM

    Chief minister of Punjab should get the law passed against child being employed as servant.the punishment must be confiscation of the property and assets in liquid form like bonds and stocks of the family. In case of govt servants employing children, confiscation of their retirement benefits plus property . That will be deterance to employ children as servant.
    If chief minister does not pay attention then judiciary chief can take su moto action.
    Can any lawyer file for class action law suit against this injustice?
    Where are these political leaders in the nation, they come on the street all the time to protest? This is one cause they can play constructive role.

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  • jojo
    Jan 9, 2014 - 3:30AM

    @Baji Jee:
    this is so devastating. i am crying right now

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  • Jan 10, 2014 - 6:03PM

    Still people say that death penalty should be abolished. Such persons should be punished with out mercy.that it may become an example to others.It is so sad to think that the innocent child met such a painful death only because poverty compelled her to work in the house of such beasts There is little hope that justice will be done.and steps will be taken so that such horrible crimes are not repeated.

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  • C Edwards
    Jan 11, 2014 - 7:29PM

    To Pakistan:

    The World is watching. Punish the people who killed this 10 year old girl & STAMP OUT CHILD LABOUR NOW. Children under 16 should automatically go to School. The money you spend on nuclear weapons and the army should be spent on your Children. To improve your country you need to educate all your children. PAKISTAN – I HOPE AND PRAY YOU DO THE RIGHT THING AND STAMP OUT CHILD LABOUR NOW !!

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  • C Edwards
    Jan 11, 2014 - 8:16PM

    To Pakistan:

    You spend millions on things you will never use, or are stupid enough to use. You spend millions on Nuclear Weapons. That money should be spent on your children and their education.
    .
    Pakistan, to go backwards spend more money on your Nuclear Weapons and the army. To go forward spend more money on your children and their education.
    .
    STAMP OUT CHILD LABOUR NOW !!

    Recommend

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