Minor maid tortured to death for setting parrots free

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-Social media abuzz demanding immediate justice

By Uzma Zafar

RAWALPINDI: An eight-year-old domestic maid was tortured to death in Rawalpindi by her employers after she accidentally freed two exotic parrots while cleaning their cage, here Wednesday..
According to reports, the eight-year-old, who hailed from Muzaffargarh, was hired to look after the child of a man identified as Hassan Siddiqui who worked in buying and selling birds and property. Copss told the media that Siddiqui has confessed that he and his wife beat up the girl, who was working for them as a maid, in a fit of rage.
The maid was cleaning the cage when she inadvertently let the two parrots free. Hassan and his wife got infuriated and brutally beat the maid. The girl was taken to a private hospital on May 31st in an unconscious state and was kept on a ventilator in the ICU but died the next day.
Siddiqui, who had taken the girl to the hospital, then disappeared. However, he was later arrested along with his wife, according to a police report. The hospital in it’s medical report said that the minor had torture marks on her cheek, ribs and thighs. Her body bore older bruises that had still not fully healed. The report also added that she had injury marks in areas suggesting possible rape.

Incidents of domestic workers tortured are not new. Just last year, the battered body of 16-year-old domestic worker Uzma Bibi was found dumped in a canal and her wealthy employer had been charged with murder. In 2017 a famous TV presenter was charged with forcefully detaining her teenage maid. On December 29th, 2016, Tayyaba, a 10-year-old domestic helper was recovered from the house of a judge after receiving complaints of torture from the neighbours. The issue sparked outrage on social media and led to calls for strict and swift justice. An inquiry report by the cops had found that the judge’s wife was responsible for torturing the child maid, and the judge of indirect criminal negligence.
Later, on January 3th 2017, Tayyaba’s parents reached a compromise and forgave the accused. However, the then Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, took suo motu notice of the compromise agreement and ordered IHC to conduct a trial of the case. Following the incident, IHC suspended the judge and made him an officer on special duty (OSD). IHC Justice Aamer Farooq ruled that the suspended Additional District and Sessions Judge Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife Maheen Zafar would serve a year each in prison for torturing the child maid under Section 328-A (cruelty to a child). On January 11th 2018, IHC increased the sentence of the judge and his wife taking their total jail term to three years.
While a few expressed immense despondency over the incident, others appeared disappointed with the corrupt system and ineffective laws.
Manifesting fury over the barbaric incident, social media users raised questions that why was the minor employed at the accused’s house in the first place. With belief that trends on Twitter cannot bring justice to the victims that have endured injustice, few irked users called for immediate laws to protect children and ensure their well-being in the country. Calling for strict retribution for the accused, social media users urged the authorities to see this incident as a ‘wake-up call’ on how children in our country are falling prey to weak and incompetent law system.