Tuesday June 25, 2024

Court dismisses bail plea of woman in domestic help’s murder case

By Yousuf Katpar
March 29, 2023

A sessions court has dismissed an application of a woman seeking post-arrest bail in a case pertaining to the murder of a minor domestic help in Karachi’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal.

Shireen Asad was booked and arrested for allegedly torturing 11-year-old Rafiq to death at her residence in Gulshan-e-Iqbal’s Block 13-D on February 8. Rafiq and his two brothers --16-year-old Razzaq and 13-year-old Rasheed — had been working as domestic help at the woman’s house on a monthly salary of Rs15,000, which she would give to their father’s acquaintance, Saleem, to transfer the amount to him in District Tharparkar.

Additional District and Sessions Judge-I (East) Abdul Zahoor Chandio also dismissed a bail application of Saleem. The judge observed that the incident took place at the woman’s residence, for which she failed to give any plausible explanation. As per an initial examination of the body, an injury was found on the victim’s head, he added. He said photographs available in police file showed that Rasheed was also brutally beaten up as there were torture marks all over his body, including his sensitive parts, adding that all the witnesses, including eyewitnesses, in their statements before the investigating officer under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) fully supported the version of the complainant.

“Offence falls within prohibitory clause and entails capital punishment. Prima facie sufficient material is available on record to connect the present accused with the offence and bail is to be decided on tentative assessments as deeper appreciation is not permissible at bail stage,” the judge noted.

Observing that the matter is still under investigation as the report of postmortem carried out after the exhumation of Rafiq’s body was yet to be received by the police, the court ruled that both the accused were not entitled to the concession of bail.

An FIR was lodged at the Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station under sections 302 (premeditated murder), 324 (attempt to murder), 334 (punishment for Itlaf-udw or intentionally causing hurt to any person), and 337-A (punishment for shajjah) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2018 on the complaint of the victim’s father, Qabool.

The complainant said that on February 8, his cousin informed him about the death of his youngest son, who, the woman stated, had fallen from a rickshaw 15 days ago and also slipped in a bathroom, as a result of which he was injured.

She claimed that Rafiq was taken to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, the complainant said, adding that the body was shifted to his native town in Tharparkar where he was buried without any medico-legal formalities.

“My elder sons told me that Rafiq had not fallen in the bathroom, but in fact their employer used to torture them,” he said. “Rasheed also had torture marks on his body.”

Rasheed said the woman would torture them with “heated tongs”, adding that she hit his brother in the head with pliers, which resulted in his death. He said she also pulled out his nails with pliers.