ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday found anomalies in the way the sessions courts handled the case of the 10-year-old maid tortured by the family of a serving additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ).
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar ordered the deputy inspector general (DIG) of Islamabad police to investigate all aspects of the case without restrictions of jurisdiction or legal immunity and to submit a detailed report in 10 days.
The child, Tayyaba, was allegedly tortured by the family of ADSJ Raja Khurram Ali Khan on Dec 28 and an FIR was registered against him and his wife on Dec 29.
DIG Islamabad ordered to inquire into case without jurisdiction restrictions, legal immunity
By Jan 2, the ADSJ had signed a compromise deed with Tayyaba’s parents through their lawyer, Raja Zahoor Hassan and obtained pre-arrest bail for his wife from fellow ADSJ Raja Asif Mehmood.
On Jan 3, another colleague of ADSJ Khan, ADSJ Atta Rabbani handed custody of the child to her purported parents after a few minutes of proceedings on a habeas corpus application, whereby which a person can report an unlawful detention of imprisonment before a court.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, Advocate General Islamabad Mian Abdul Rauf said that “as per the police record, Raja Zahoor Hassan was a relative of ADSJ Raja Khurram Ali Khan”.
Raja Zahoor has represented himself as the child’s parents’ lawyer before ADSJ Mehmood and ADSJ Rabbani.
Testifying before the SC, the child’s father, Mohammad Azam said that a Punjab MPA from the PML-N, Rai Usman Khan Kharal, visited his house and transported him, his wife Nusrat and Tayyaba’s paternal aunt and uncle to a house in Burma Town, Islamabad, where Raja Zahoor asked him to put his thumb impression on a stamp paper if he wanted his daughter back.
“I put my thumb impression on the papers but I don’t know what they were for as I am illiterate,” he said.
Mr Azam said the family went to the sessions court where they were handed Tayyaba and Raja Zahoor then took them back to Burma Town, where they stayed for a few days.
He told the court that an employment agent for children, Nadra, took Tayyaba on Aug 14, 2014 and offered the family Rs18,000 in advance and Rs3,000 per month for her services. He said he had only spoken to Tayyaba once or twice since then and had only seen her after Raja Zahoor brought her to them after the incident.
Raja Zahoor remained in police custody till Tayyaba’s recovery.
CJP Nisar directed DIG Operations Kashif Aslam to interrogate Raja Zahoor as he had played “an important role” in the “episode”.
The Industrial Area station house officer (SHO) told the court how he received information about the alleged torture of the minor and how she was recovered and taken to the women’s crisis centre.
He said ADSJ Mehmood summoned him on Jan 3 along with the case record and when he appeared in court, he was told the judge had already granted interim bail to Maheen Zafar, ADSJ Khan’s wife.
The CJP was surprised to learn that ADSJ Rabbani handed over custody of the child to her alleged parents the same day, “in haste” and directed the DIG operations to conduct an inquiry into the matter.
The CJP handed custody of Tayyaba to Pakistan Sweet Homes, saying she needs a congenial atmosphere to stay in before recording a formal statement.
During the proceedings, a lawyer approached the rostrum and said those claiming to be Tayyaba’s parents should be dealt with strictly as they wanted her custody for monetary benefit. When the women who were claiming to be the child’s mothers were summoned, they withdrew their claim.
The court will take up the case again on Jan 18.
Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2017