Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday took notice of a delay in the trial of the alleged torture of minor domestic worker Tayyaba in Islamabad, demanding an explanation for the hold-up from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) registrar.

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 a first information report was filed against her employers a day later.

Ali reached a compromise with Tayyaba's parents on Jan 2, 2017, and a day later the child was handed over to her parents. On Jan 4, however, the apex court took suo motu notice of the matter and directed police to investigate all aspects 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.

During today's hearing, Raja Khurram Ali's lawyer said that the case had not been resolved because the IHC refused to accept an out-of-court settlement between the accused and Tayyaba's parents.

The CJP turned down his argument, saying, "When parents fail [to fulfill their duty] the court has to take their place".

The CJP asked whether Ali had been suspended from his post, to which the defence lawyer responded that his client was out on bail.

The court issued a notice to the advocate general Punjab and adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period.

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