A case of alleged brutal torture of a 14-year-old girl, employed as a domestic help at the house of a civil judge in Islamabad, has sparked outrage in Pakistan. The girl’s parents have accused the judge’s wife, Somia, of inflicting severe injuries on their daughter, who was sent to work at the judge’s house seven months ago.
According to the First Information Report (FIR) registered by the police, the girl’s parents found her in a wounded condition when they went to meet her on Monday. They said that they had not seen her for seven months but sometimes talked to her on the phone. They claimed that there were torture marks all over the child’s body, including burns, bruises, broken teeth, and strangling marks. They also said that some of her wounds were infested with maggots.
The police have registered a case against Somia under sections 506 and 342 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), which deal with criminal intimidation and wrongful confinement. The police said that they are taking action for the arrest of the suspect and that the investigation will be done on merit.
However, the civil judge, Asim Hafeez, has denied the allegations and said that the girl had eaten soil from the planters in his house, which damaged her skin. He said that the girl was a house help and not a maid.
In a latets move Islamabad’s civil judge Asim Hafeez has offered a settlement to the father of the girl Razwana, who was a victim of violence at his home. According to Razwana’s mother, the judge said that he is ready to pay for all the medical expenses and also some extra money.
This is not the first time that a Pakistani judge and his wife have been accused of torturing a child maid. In 2016, another judge, Raja Khurram Ali Khan, and his wife, Maheen Zafar, were sentenced to three years in prison for abusing their 10-year-old maid, Tayyaba. The case had shocked the nation after pictures of the girl’s injuries went viral on social media. The Supreme Court later reduced their sentences to one year, following an appeal by the prosecutors.
The cases of Tayyaba and the 14-year-old girl Rizwana have highlighted the plight of millions of child workers in Pakistan, who are often exploited and abused by their employers. According to a 2018 report by UNICEF, Pakistan has 12.5 million child workers, out of which 8.5 million are domestic workers. Children are not legally allowed to work in most businesses in Pakistan, but there is no law banning them from working inside homes.
Human rights activists have called for stricter laws and enforcement to protect the rights and dignity of child workers in Pakistan. They have also demanded accountability and justice for the victims of torture and violence.