After the passage of a year, a court handed one year each to the judge and his wife who had tortured their child maid, Tayyaba.
The Islamabad High Court gave the verdict Tuesday. Justice Aamer Farooq ruled that Additional Sessions Judge Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife, Mahin Zafar, would serve a year each in prison and pay a fine of Rs50,000 each.
Tayyaba was 10 years old when she was working as domestic help at the judge’s house. On December 29, 2016, she was recovered from their house after neighbours complained of torture on the child.
The minor’s face and hands bore marks of torture but she had initially denied being hurt by her employers. She told the police that her eye was injured after she fell from the stairs, adding that her hand was also burnt accidentally. However, the child narrated her ordeal after a female magistrate spoke to her. Tayyaba told the magistrate that she was beaten and her hand burnt on the stove for losing the broom.
The case was reported and outrage followed on social media, with people calling for strict and swift justice.
The case also opened the debate on child labour in Pakistan, a practice rampant in the country. People living in abject poverty are forced to send their children to work as servants for the rich. Reports of children being ill-treated and abused are common.
SAMAA reporter Fiaz Mahmood covered the case proceedings. According to him, the verdict serves as a ray of hope for the future of children.
“We were threatened by lawyers but we pursued the case because Tayyaba was a child,” he said. “She needed justice, especially since the child’s father had agreed to a settlement.”
Mahmood said sending a judge to jail has set the right precedent. “It will deter people from hiring children as domestic workers and depriving them of their right to education,” he said. “Also, it will save children, who are already working as domestic servants, from being tortured.”
Story first published: 17th April 2018