LARKANA, Oct 12: Parents kept their nine-year-old daughter in chains for four months for fear she might flee home, it emerged on Friday.

Police found Mehrunissa Bhutto chained to the trunk of a date-palm tree when they raided the premises of her house in Ghulam Bhutto village on the outskirts of the city on Friday.

ASP Abrar Hussain told Dawn police were was tipped off by a TV reporter about the girl. She had been brought to the Haidri police station and her father, Jan Mohammad Bhutto, had been picked up, he said.

Mehrunissa showed journalists signs of torture and scars on her legs and arms and told them that her parents used to keep her in chains and subject her to severe beatings.

She said her parents feared she would escape like her younger sister Kanwal. Her sister quietly slipped away about four months ago after having become fed up with her parents’ inhuman behaviour, she said.

Her father, Jan Mohammad, said his daughter was mentally challenged and he had to put her in chains to restrict her movements because he was afraid she might escape like her sister.

The ASP dismissed the father’s statement and said the girl had been behaving normally throughout. SHO Aijaz Pathan said that Sanam, the victim’s mother, had admitted to torturing her.

She would be produced in court on Saturday.

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