- Court finds ADSJ Raja Khurram, his wife guilty of torturing child maid Tayyaba and keeping her in wrongful confinement
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday granted bail to Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife Maheen Zafar after sentencing them to one-year in jail for torturing the child maid.
ADSJ Khan and Maheen Zafar were given prison time — as well as a fine of Rs50,000 each — for their involvement in keeping the then 10-year-old Tayyaba in wrongful confinement, burning her hand over a missing broom, beating her with a ladle, detaining her in a storeroom, and threatening her of “dire consequences”.
IHC Justice Aamer Farooq announced the verdict in the Tayyaba torture case after over a year-long period of proceedings.
The order stated that the evidence in the case reflected that the accused deliberately demonstrated negligence in the matter of minor girl. The prosecution had proved its case without any ambiguity against the nominated accused under section 328-A PPC.
It further added that Raja Khurram and his wife Maheen Zafar were completely responsible for taking care of the minor girl. The media had no bearing on trial process, the order added.
The court, however, acquitted the accused in an allegation regarding disappearing of victim girl Tayyaba.
Meanwhile, the IHC’s same bench approved the bail of Raja Khurram and Maheen Zafar for one-week on an application filed by the accused who took the stance in their plea that they wanted to file an appeal with the SC against the decision of the trial court.
The petitioner’s counsel Rizwan Abbasi and Sohail Warraich appeared before the bench and took the stance that the bail could be granted to the accused if the imprisonment period would be less than one year and it was also the basic right of their clients. After hearing the arguments, the court granted one-week bail to the both the accused against surety bonds worth Rs 50,000.
The judgement, which was reserved on March 27, was read out in the presence of the accused during Tuesday’s proceedings.
In total, the statements of 19 witnesses were recorded in the case, wherein 11 were from civil servants and eight from private witnesses, including Tayyaba’s parents.
The case of 10-year-old Tayyaba, a domestic worker at the home of former additional district and sessions judge Raja Khurram Ali and his wife Maheen, first came to light after photos of the child depicting alleged torture by her employers began circulating on social media.
Tayyaba was rescued from their residence with visible wounds on Dec 28, 2016, and an FIR (First Information Report) was filed against her employers a day later.
An inquiry report by the police had found that the judge’s wife was responsible for torturing the child maid, and Khurram of indirect criminal negligence.
Later, on January 3, 2017, Tayyaba’s parents reached a compromise and forgave the accused.
However, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar took a suo motu notice of the compromise agreement and ordered the IHC to conduct a trial of the case.
The Supreme Court in a hearing on Jan 11 then observed that the role of a lawyer, Raja Zahoor Hassan, was of key interest with regards to an ‘illegitimate compromise’ reached between the suspects and the child’s family.
CJP Nisar had insisted there was no doubt that a criminal act had been committed in the case and directed police to investigate the preparation of the compromise deed as well as matters related to internal trafficking of child labourers.
After the police in their report had focused only on the child’s abuse and the possible involvement of the suspects, the SC expressed displeasure with the investigation of the case and referred it back to the IHC for further deliberation.