Shazia’s death and the shameful role of the lawyer fraternity

Young maid tortured to death in Lahore

The torture and slaughter of Shazia, a 12-year-old maid, in DHA, Lahore has caused a stir. Here are a few reports which suggest that:

1. Domestic servants in Pakistan, house maids in particular, remain vulunerable and subject to physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

2. Life and honour of a non-Muslim (a Christian girl in this case) is usually treated as less valuable than life and honour of a Muslim citizen.

3. A degree in formal education (a degree in law in this case) and membeship in a professional association (bar association in this instance) do not guarantee that the recipients of formal education and professional affiliation will act as respectable human beings. The despicable role of the lawyer community in Lahore in support of Shazia’s killer is a case in evidence.

Unruly lawyers harass Shazia’s family, media: Source

Maid in hell

Yet another heinous violation of human rights glares at us blatantly in the face. 12-year-old Shazia Masih, a Christian domestic worker, was allegedly barbarically tortured and sexually abused by her employers, the lawyer Naeem Chaudhry (a former President of Lahore Bar Association) and his family, to finally succumb to the violence she was subjected to. The case has opened up a Pandora’s box of child labour and domestic abuse laws, atrocious inhumanity, immorally botched law enforcement and the criminal disregard for those who languish below the benchmark of influence.

The laxity practiced on the part of the police screams of corruption and a hefty degree of amnesty awarded the accused due to which the FIR was not registered until 24 hours after the report of the incident, thus allowing the lawyer and his family to flee. Even after this inexcusable delay in police proceedings, the officers involved procrastinated in organizing the required documentation for the necessary postmortem. Due to Naeem Chaudhry’s position as president of the Lahore Bar Association in 2006, he, and others like him, obviously wield a certain amount of influence on state institutions. Reports just coming in have indicated that the advocate has been apprehended; thanks to the immense media pressure and coverage, the authorities had no other option than to pull their socks up. Unfortunately, those whose job it is to haul up the perpetrators of crime are criminally unprincipled themselves. The police has shown that it is unscrupulously biased in the case of minority rights; money talks and justice walks. On the behest of an enraged media, the suspension of the concerned SHO from the Defence-A station is a welcome move, but closer scrutiny is needed of the police’s culture.

Surprisingly, the lawyer fraternity has vowed not to take any stance on the issue till the accused is found guilty and convicted; it makes one wonder why different standards exist where, as far as the NRO beneficiaries are concerned, they stand condemned before sentencing.

Furthermore, the inadequacy of domestic worker abuse and child labour laws in Pakistan needs addressing. Even if laws are passed, state institutions do nothing to implement them, especially in cases concerning women and children, causing a two-fold injustice: in homes and then at the hands of the authorities. Shazia’s case is one of extreme suffering at the hands of a socially privileged class who think nothing of the exploitation and abuse of those belonging to the other side of the economic divide. If the battered and mutilated body of a minor does nothing to pull at the heartstrings of an already disillusioned society, NGOs, civil rights groups and societies for the humane ought to pack up shop and go home and employ their efforts elsewhere, a place where human life is not so cheaply dispensable.

Source: Daily Times

Police said on Sunday they had arrested Advocate Chaudhry Naeem, the main accused in the case of murder of a 12-year-old maid, and five others…Chaudhry Naeem, a former president of the Lahore Bar Association, his son Yasir, a sister-in-law and a daughter-in-law have been nominated in the FIR….Amanat and his wife have been booked for providing the maid to Chaudhry Naeem.

Punjab’s Senior Minister Raja Riaz condemned the incident and said that Rs500,000 would be paid to the girl’s family on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari.

It ‘s learnt that Shazia, a resident of Lyton Road, started working at Chaudhry Naeem’s house in DHA, Lahore about seven months ago on a monthly salary of Rs1,000. According to sources, she used to be severely beaten even for petty lapses.

Source: Dawn

Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Muhammad Pervez Rathore told The News the main accused, Naeem Advocate and Amanat, have been arrested, and would be presented before the court on Monday (today).

Another senior police officer said the police have arrested Naeem Advocate, his son Yasir Naeem, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, middle man Amanat and his wife, Ghafooran. However, none of the accused was locked up at Defence-A police station till filing of the report. The arrest of the accused persons was also not registered at Defence-A police station till late Sunday night.

The victim’s family had alleged that the police were still showing leniency with the accused. The family said if the police had arrested the accused, they should be put behind the bars. The victim’s father said they would perform burial of Shazia only after seeing the accused behind the bars. He said the accused, Naeem, and his family should not be treated as guests at the police station or at the investigation centre.

Meanwhile, the Lahore Bar Association members have reportedly planned to file a writ petition of habeas corpus against the police for keeping Naeem Advocate’s two sisters and brothers-in-law in illegal detention. A senior police officer, requesting anonymity, said lawyers could use this tactic to exert pressure on the police. However, he said action was being taken under the law.

Meanwhile, a medical board comprising three doctors, headed by Mayo Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Zahid Pervez, conducted autopsy on the body of Shazia. According to provisional autopsy report, there was a time lapse of 45 hours and 35 minutes between the death and autopsy. It has been reported that 16 injuries including incision wounds were found on different parts of the dead body. The wounds were skin deep ranging from 3 to 6 cm. Liver, heart, lungs, etc., were found normal. The report said there was no rib fracture, and signs of rape were also not found. Samples of brain, lung, liver, spleen and muscle were sent for histopathology and chemical examination. It is also learnt that around 13 out of 16 wounds were inflicted with rusted weapon, while three wounds were inflicted with sharp-edged weapon. Medical board was of the view that the malnutrition and constant physical and mental torture could be the result of death of minor girl. However, the real cause of death would be ascertained after the report of chemical examiner and histopathology. The autopsy report showed that intoxicants were also given to the victim.

Misreporting by the accused could also be judged from the hospital record, collected by The News. According to the record, the victim was admitted to Medical Emergency of Jinnah Hospital Lahore at 11:51 pm on January 21, 2010. The accused got registered the name of Shazia’s father as Ansar, instead of Bashir Masih, and age 14 years instead of 12. The accused got admitted Shazia on the pretext that she was mentally retarded. The victim was shifted to Medical Unit-4 on Friday morning and she died at 2:15 pm on the same day (January 22, 2010).

A doctor at Jinnah Hospital, on the condition of anonymity, said the victim was received almost dead, as the artificial respiratory procedure was started soon after her admission. He said the victim should have been shifted to Surgical Ward due to fatal wounds, but as the accused lawyer had approached one of the professors of MU-4, the victim was shifted to that ward. At the time of admission, doctors of MU-4 were on duty at Medical Emergency, the doctor maintained. Moreover, three children of victim family were also recovered late at night.

Source: The News

Statistics show that 70 per cent or more female domestic servants suffer abuse in some form. All domestic servants remain unprotected by labour laws with no regulations in place as to their hours of work, leaves and other rights. The many young girls hired to perform domestic chores and tend to children more privileged than themselves are especially vulnerable.

Source: The News

Pakistani Christian distrust government claims to ensure justice in Shazia murder case

Karachi: January 24, 2010. (PCP) Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President, Pakistan Christian Congress PCC, expressed distrust on statements of President Asif Zardari, CM Punjab Shahbaz Sharif and Federal Minority Minister Shahbaz Bhatti that culprits will be brought to justice in Shazia case.

Christian teenage girl Shazia Bashir Masih, working as housemaid was tortured, raped and murdered by Muslim lawyer Mohammad Naeem on January 21, 2010. The culprit Mohammad Naeem who is member of Lahore High Court Bar Association and resident of posh Defense Housing Authority Lahore, molested, tortured and later killed Christian teenage Shazia Bashir in his home where she was working as maid since 2009.

The shameless episode of this inhuman drama happened when killer Mohammad Naeem Advocate accompanies with one Pakistan Army officer ranked as Brigadier and reached in hut of poor parents of Shazia Bashir and threatens not to raise voice and offers cash for rape and killing.

Nazir S Bhatti said that government of Pakistan and government of Punjab have been failed to secure life, respect and property of Christian.

The announcement of compensation to family of Shazia by President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari and Chief Minister of Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif negates Christians demand “Justice not Money” raised after destruction of hundreds of homes in village BahmainWali, Korian and Gjra by attack of Muslim mob in July-August 2009, in Punjab. Apart from setting on fire Churches and desecration of Holy Bibles in said villages 7 Christian children, women and elders were burnt alive by Muslim extremists in Gojra Town. Like Shazia rape-murder case government of Pakistan and Punjab government assured Christians that justice shall be ensure.

The Federal Minority Minister Shahbaz Bhatti was dispatched to Gojra, Korian and village Bahminwala by President of Pakistan and Prime Minister of Pakistan with compensation checks and orders of registration of First Information Reports FIR against local administration. The Punjab Minority Minister Michael Kamran was also ordered to rush to effected villages by Chief Minister of Punjab.

The 20 million Pakistani Christians watched on electronic media waiving FIR against Gojra DCO, DSP and other officials by Shahbaz Bhatti and Kamran Michael while standing beside seven dead bodies in presence of hundreds of mourners.

“Where is justice? The DCO Gojra is promoted by Punjab government and enquiry committees of administration have given clean chit to involved officers who closed eyes and gave free hand to thousands of Muslims to destroy homes and burn Christian alive” said Nazir Bhatti

“There is no justice for Christians in Pakistan and we doubt that culprit Mohammad Naeem will be also saved like Gojra killers” added Nazir Bhatti. He said “ Give us Justice not Money because justice can only end violence against Christians in Pakistan by establishment and fundamental Islamic elements”

It is also reported in Pakistani Press that Special Team appointed by Chief Minister Punjab to conduct postmortem of victim Shazia Bashir have found no evidence of rape and Shahbaz Bhatti have pointed finger on one Christian Ammant Masih who recruited Shazia for maid worker in home of culprit Mohammad Naeem.

Nazir S Bhatti urged government of Pakistan and Punjab government to immediately arrest Mohammad Naeem advocate because PCC doubts that administration is providing time to culprits to seek bail before arrest from higher courts.

Source: Pakistan Christian Post

Related article: Naeem advocate granted bail by an Islamofacist judge in Lahore



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