Islamabad, Jun 3 (efe-epa).- The alleged death by torture of an eight-year-old babysitter by the couple that employed her for letting four parrots fly away has sparked widespread outrage in Pakistan with a minister proposing on Wednesday a ban on employing children for domestic work.
Police said they have arrested the accused couple.
“They tortured the girl and marks of the torture could be seen on different parts of her body including face, thighs, and belly,” Mukhtar Ahmad, the police officer in charge of the investigation, told EFE.
The incident took place in the city of Rawalpindi and came to light on Sunday when the employers of Zohra Bibi brought the girl to a hospital, bleeding profusely.
The minor died at the hospital in the early hours of Monday.
The couple allegedly tortured the girl because she had accidentally freed four parrots which they had bought for 64,000 rupees (around $390).
“The couple had four parrots as their pet and the girl accidentally opened the cage and all the parrots flew away from the cage, but three were recaptured later,” Ahmad said.
Zohra had been working at the household for four months, taking care of the couple’s young child in exchange for education, food, clothes, and a small salary.
The police officer said the girl’s uncle had brought her to the house for working there.
The horrific case led to widespread outrage in the country, where abuse, rape, and killing of minors have grabbed headlines and led to protests in recent years.
After a furor on the social media and the press, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari tweeted that her ministry was following the case and had proposed a legal amendment to declare domestic work as a “hazardous occupation” for children throughout the country and banning it.
The eastern Punjab province, where Rawalpindi is situated, had already banned children aged under 15 from working as domestic help last year, but the norm has not been successfully implemented so far.
Zohra’s murder comes after a judge and wife were sentenced to a one-year prison term in April 2018 for torturing their maid in another infamous case.
An estimated 12.5 million Pakistan children work in different capacities, according to the nonprofit Child Rights Movement. EFE-EPA