ISLAMABAD: Exercising parental jurisdiction, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered for custody of Tayyaba, a 10-year-old who was employed as a maid and allegedly abused by her employer, to be given to the SOS Children’s Village in Islamabad for two months.

Tayyaba has been residing in Pakistan Sweet Homes, an orphanage managed by the Pakistan Baitul Mal, since January this year. Prior to this she was employed as a maid in the home of additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Raja Khurram Ali in I-8/1 for a couple of years.

A three judge SC bench led by the chief justice of Pakistan took suo motu notice of the case of alleged abuse and torture of the child, based on media reports that she was beaten and her hands were burnt.


Tayyaba will stay in SOS Village for two months, after which SC will evaluate whether to send her to foster home, her parents


On Dec 28, 2016, someone from the neighbourhood contacted the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau’s (CPWB) Rawalpindi office about the abuse. The police and a medico-legal officer initially said Tayyaba had fallen down the stairs, but the child later told assistant commissioner Nisha Ishtiaq that she was beaten and detained in a storeroom by the ADSJ and his wife over a missing broom.

The SC order stated: “Without undermining the status of Sweet Home, we direct the concerned authorities to move Tayyaba from Sweet Home to SOS Children Village Islamabad with effect from Monday.”

Tayyaba will remain at the SOS Village for two months, after which the court will evaluate whether she should be sent to a foster home or back to her parents, the court order said.

At the last case hearing, on March 8, the court, while staying the trial before a judicial magistrate, asked the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to consider transferring the matter to another subordinate trial court from the judicial magistrate, or assume its own jurisdiction.

The court had also hinted that it would consider sending the child to the SOS Village, observing that the court will ensure that the case reaches its logical conclusion.

Meanwhile, the State v. Maheen Zafar case is pending before Islamabad judicial magistrate Syed Haider Ali Shah.

On Tuesday, Ms Zafar’s counsel Sardar Aslam told the court that the IHC had reserved its ruling in the matter and pleaded that it would be more appropriate to exercise its jurisdiction by the SC once the IHC announces its verdict.

The counsel argued that a Rawalpindi district and sessions judge may be asked to try the case, therefore it would be better if the SC wait for the high court decision.

The court, however, observed that the SC would ultimately have to decide the matter of permanent custody of Tayyaba.

Ayesha Hamid, a counsel present in the case, also asked the court to give custody of Tayyaba to the SOS Village in Lahore from Pakistan Sweet Homes, on the grounds that she believed the SOS Village Lahore has enjoyed a good reputation for a number of years.

However, the court observed that it was exercising its parental jurisdiction, and regretted that the child’s parents were not ready to protect her.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2017

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