Pakistan’s child labour: Judge’s wife accused of torturing child maid


SARGODHA/ ISLAMABAD: A child domestic worker working at the residence of a civil judge in Islamabad was brutally tortured, with her parents alleging that the judge’s wife was responsible for the girl’s condition.

Videos and images of the 14-year-old girl showed the victim with deep gashes on the head and a swollen and bruised face, with wounds on her arms and legs.

Police in Sargodha confirmed that the child bore visible marks of torture and was under treatment at the district hospital.

Hospital sources added that she seemed to have been beaten with a stick.

The parents of the girl said she had been working at the residence of civil judge Asim Hafeez in the capital for the last six months.

According to the mother, the child was tortured on the suspicion that she had stolen some valuables.

“They beat her with a bat,” she said.

Meanwhile, the judge in question has completely denied the torture taking place.

Judge Asim Hafeez said that the girl had knowingly hurt herself as she was unwilling to go back to her hometown Sargodha.

According to him, the girl said that her mother would beat her, which is why she did not want to go back home.

When asked about the various injuries on her head, face and rest of the body, the judge said she had “worms on her head”.

She used to wear a scarf and never complained about any head injury, he added.

He went on to say that the girl ate mud from a pot which resulted in a reaction and the resultant scar on the face.

He claimed that he taken the girl to a doctor in Gujranwala and had gotten her treated as well.

“But the cream she used was itchy,” he claimed.

He said that when his wife went to hand over the 14-year-old to her mother, she started beating him.

He said that the girl’s mother then started thrashing the child, saying ‘she had to come from Sargodha to pick her’, suggesting that was the reason for the injuries and bruises.

When asked about whether any jewelry was missing, he said that his wife had mentioned it but she did not accuse the girl.

“I told her that the girl was with us, so you should see,” he continued.

He added that he told his wife to inquire just in case the girl was not ‘right in the head and had thrown the jewelry outside’.

The judge did not clarify how the questions were asked while denying that the child was abused at his residence.

The family has since taken the girl back to Sargodha where she underwent treatment.

While no first information report had been lodged by the time this report was filed, police in Sargodha reportedly arrested the person who got the girl employed at the judge’s house.

The victim’s father, who works as a daily wage worker at the vegetable market in Sargodha, said that they had sent the daughter to work in Islamabad after assurance that she would be safe there.

According to one estimate, there are over 12m child workers in the country.

In January, police arrested a woman after another underage worker was found dead at a residence in