Domestic helper’s murder: Court requested to cancel bail of MPA’s daughter

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LAHORE: Legal experts have urged the judiciary to cancel the interim pre-arrest bail of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PLM-N) MPA Shah Jahan’s daughter Fauzia, who had allegedly killed domestic worker with a baton and is on a pre-arrest bail till July 20.

According to sources, the accused Fauzia is still at large and police are clueless about her location.  According to SP Adil Memon, Akbari Gate police have registered a case under Section 302 against Fauzia on the complaint of Akhtar’s father Muhammad Aslam and have added an anti-terrorism clause in the first information (FIR) report to avoid chances of a settlement between the parties.  Police cannot arrest the accused as she is on bail, he said.

The body of 16-year-old Akhtar Ali was recovered from the house of Shah Jahan on Tuesday and post-mortem report revealed repeated torture and trauma as a cause of his death. Akhtar’s body had dozens of torture marks.

Akhtar and his younger sister Atiya, residents of Okara, had been employed as domestic workers at the house of Shah Jahan for four years.

According to Atiya, Fauzia had sent Akhtar to buy utensils and when he got late, she beat him up with an iron rod and club which led to his death after few days. Severe marks of torture were found on his crotch, the postmortem report said.

Talking to Pakistan Today, lawyer Muhammad Azhar said, “She (Fauzia) must be taken into custody and dealt with in accordance with law.” He said the case of Akhtar Ali has become a matter of urgency and urged the court to immediately cancel the pre-arrest bail of the MPA’s daughter as postmortem report has found her guilty. “The judges should not grant bails in such cases,” he opined.

Mala fide intentions of police help escape the accused, ”said another lawyer and human rights activist Akhtar Ali, while talking to Pakistan Today. Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of the incident and sought a report from Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Amin Wains.

Shahbaz ordered a strict action against those involved in the boy’s killing and directed the authorities to provide best available health facilities to the sister of the deceased.

Child Welfare and Protection Bureau (CW&PB) Chairperson Saba Sadiq said that the bureau would offer every kind of support to the family of the deceased. A case would also be registered against Shah Jahan for hiring a juvenile as domestic help, she added.

According to a Human Rights Commission of Pakistan report in 2016, over six million children in Pakistan are forced to work long hours for poor salaries.

Child labourers are subject to sexual, physical and verbal abuse. According to the latest Labour Force Survey, about 6.4 million children, in the age bracket of 10-14 years, are working as labourers in Pakistan. They work in agriculture, fisheries, transport, carpet weaving, food catering, motor garages, light industry and domestic services sectors.

According to child rights activists, children working as domestic help are mostly subjected to exploitation, deprived of labour rights and run a higher risk of physical and sexual abuse by employers.

The human rights activists fighting for rights of domestic workers say that the Domestic Workers (Employment Rights) Bill 2015 is a first drop of rain to bring domestic workers under the jurisdiction of labour laws.

He urged the Lahore High Court chief justice to take notice of the incident.