A couple has been arrested for allegedly torturing and murdering an eight-year-old for letting two expensive parrots free in Pakistan, police officials have said.
Hassan Siddiqi confessed that he and his wife beat up the girl, who was working for them as a maid, in a fit of anger in the city of Rawalpindi, police officials told The Independent.
“[The] maid was cleaning the cage when she inadvertently let the two parrots free,” a spokesperson said. “Hassan and his wife got infuriated and brutally beat the maid.”
The girl was unconscious when she was taken to a private hospital in the city of Rawalpindi, on 31 May.
She was kept on a ventilator in the ICU but died the next day.
According to a police report, Hassan brought the maid to the hospital but disappeared from the scene.
He was later arrested along with his wife.
According to the hospital medical report, the deceased girl had torture marks on her cheek, ribs and thighs. She also had older marks which were still not fully healed.
The report also said she had injury marks in areas suggesting possible rape. The police are awaiting a further report.
According to the police, the maid came from Muzaffargarh, a city of Punjab, and she was employed with the couple by her uncle.
“The couple had promised her uncle that they would provide her education and pay a salary of Rs 3000 per month (£16). But they neither gave her education nor paid salary,” a spokesperson said.
Several incidents of the torture and killing of domestic helpers have been reported in Pakistan recently.
A judge and his wife in the capital city of Islamabad were sentenced to one year jail term in 2018 for keeping their ten-year-old maid in wrongful confinement, burning her hand over a missing broom, beating her with a ladle and detaining her in a storeroom.
In another case a doctor and her husband allegedly tortured to death their 14-year-old maid and claimed she fell from stairs and died. However, an autopsy revealed she was tortured.
Despite the Punjab province having a law which restricts hiring an employee under the age of 16, it is not uncommon for upper middle class people to hire maids and servants from villages on lower salaries. Poverty forces families to send their children, especially girls, to work as domestic help in lieu of meagre salary.
According to the Punjab Restriction on Employment of Children Act 2016, there is a sentence of five years for keeping an employee under the age of 16.