The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday ordered DNA tests to confirm the identity of the parents of a 10-year-old child maid who was allegedly tortured by her employers ─ an influential judge and his wife ─ and ordered a full police probe into the allegations.
The court took suo motu notice of the case after the girl's parents 'forgave' her alleged tormentors. The location of the child is presently unknown.
Adding to the confusion, two women previously unheard of appeared before the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar in court today, each claiming the girl in question is their child, after which the judge requested DNA tests.
CJP Nisar, who is heading a two-member bench hearing the suo motu case, remarked, "No 'agreements' can be reached in matters concerning fundamental human rights."
"Even parents cannot deny children their fundamental rights," the judge observed. "How did they reach a settlement on torture against the child?"
CJP Nisar was referring to affidavits submitted in court earlier this week after the father of the girl 'forgave' her alleged tormentors, Additional Sessions Judge Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife, Maheen Zafar.
In the affidavits, the girl's father Mohammad Azam, her mother Nusrat Bibi and her aunt Pathani Bibi had stated, "I reached a settlement with Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife Maheen Zafar with my free will and hence forgiving them unconditionally."
The apex court ordered the DIG Operations Islamabad to form and head an investigative committee to probe the case. Expressing trust in the police, the court ordered them to bring the truth to light.
The apex court also ordered the police to find and bring the child into court next week alongside her parents and the assistant commissioner of Potohar.
The investigative team has been instructed to conclude its probe within two weeks. The judge's wife, Maheen Zafar, has also been given time to submit her reply to court.
The hearing has been adjourned until Jan 11.
The case of the child maid's alleged torture came to light last week after photos of the child wounded and bruised began circulating on social media.
In a First Information Report, the 10-year-old girl stated that she had been living at the house of Additional District and Sessions Judge Raja Khurram Ali Khan for nearly two years.
The girl claimed that she was often beaten up in the house. Most recently, she alleged ‘Mano Baji’, Khan's wife, shoved her hands onto a burning stove and then beat her after a broom went missing.
She said the owners of the house would usually lock her up in a storeroom at night besides starving and beating her.
The police took the girl into custody after recovering her from the house of the judge.
However, the father of the child appeared in court on Tuesday and said he had "no objections" to the court granting bail to the suspects. He claimed that he had investigated the matter on his own and found the case to be a false one.