LAHORE: On the recommendation of a high-powered panel comprising Lahore investigation police officers, a recently-amended section — 328-A — of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), titled “cruelty to a child” has been added to a torture case wherein two minor brothers working as domestic help were brutally tortured by their employers, resulting in death of one of the siblings in Defence Housing Authority (DHA) on Monday last.

The offence was added to the already registered first information report (FIR) on the pattern of the case against a former additional sessions judge, Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife. The couple involved in the ‘Tayyaba case' was booked for torturing a housemaid in Islamabad in 2017. The ex-judge and his wife were accused of burning the hands of their 10-year-old domestic help Tayyaba on stove, besides subjecting her to inhuman torture.

Tayyaba case was highlighted when the images of the bruised minor girl went viral on social media, prompting the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take suo moto action. In this case, the Raja Khurram and his wife were handed down three-year imprisonment and Rs500,00 fine.

The case of brutal torture of two minor brothers in DHA Lahore was reported on the second day of Eid-ul-Azha (Monday). In this incident, one of the siblings Kamran (10) was allegedly tortured to death and his younger brother Rizwan (6) was injured critically by their employers for “stealing food” from their fridge.

Several deep bruises inflicted with “sharp-edged objects” and iron rods were found on the bodies of the minor siblings when their employers shifted them to a private hospital in the DHA.

“Given the scale of the brutality the employers committed in the case, we have added a newly-introduced section -- 328-A -- of the PPC in the FIR lodged against the suspects”, a senior police officer told Dawn. He said the decision in this respect was taken by a panel of senior officers headed by Lahore investigation DIG Kamran Adil.

He said section 328-A was introduced while making amendments to the PPC in 2016 declaring such offence non-bailable. The section deals with an offence (committed by any person taking care of the children) relating to the ‘cruelty to a child’.

The new section did not mention the age of the child concerned, he said, adding that its provisions suggest the sentence should not be less than a year and might be extended to three years if the offender willfully assaults, mistreats, neglects, abandons or carries out an act of omission that has the potential to harm or injure a child by causing physical or psychological injury to the child.

Earlier, the police had been using the PPC section 328 against the offenders in the FIRs dealing with child torture incidents that mentioned up to 12-year age of the victim, the police official said, adding that the amended PPC section covers all individuals below 18-years and any offender, without considering his/her relation to the victim.

He said the Lahore police applied section 328-A of the PPC to the extent of six-year-old Rizwan, who was injured because of torture by his employers.

“We applied the PPC section 328-A in addition to hurt offences declared in the Medico Legal Certificate (MLC) of the injured domestic worker”, he said.

For this, the Lahore police officers sought help of the provincial prosecution department in order to make a strong case against the suspects, to ensure their conviction by the court, the police official said, adding that the three of the suspects, including head of the family Nasrullah, his son Hassan and a woman Shabana, had already been arrested, while raids are on for the two others.

A team of senior police officers headed by Lahore investigation SSP was dealing with the case in order to ensure exemplary punishment to the offenders from the court of law, he added.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2022

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