LAHORE: Soumia Asim, the wife of a civil judge who stands accused of torturing her teenage domestic help, was granted protective bail by the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday.
The bail was approved by Justice Farooq Haider following the hearing of Asim’s anticipatory bail plea. The protective bail is valid until August 1, during which time authorities have been ordered to refrain from arresting her.
The case came to light earlier this week when the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police registered a case against Somia Asim, wife of Civil Judge Asim Hafeez. The allegations state that she subjected a 14-year-old girl, employed as a domestic help, to severe torture.
The incident became known after the victim was shifted to a hospital in Lahore, bearing serious injuries. The family accused Somia Asim of brutally beating the child. Consequently, the case was registered at Police Station Humak by the girl’s father, Manga Khan, under Sections 506 (committing the offense of criminal intimidation) and 342 (wrongfully confining a person) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
Asim, upon being booked, expressed her willingness to cooperate with the investigation into the allegations leveled against her. Meanwhile, the victim’s medical report revealed the presence of 15 serious wounds all over her body, especially on the head and face. The preliminary medical report also highlighted the appalling fact that the victim had been denied treatment for seven months, exacerbating her wounds.
The victim was later moved to Lahore from Sargodha to receive proper medical treatment. However, the doctors’ prognosis remains uncertain.
Despite efforts by federal capital police to locate the judge’s wife for investigation, she has eluded arrest. The police conducted raids at possible hideouts in Lahore and Gujranwala, but their attempts to apprehend her proved unsuccessful.
According to the First Information Report (FIR), the complainant had sent his 14-year-old daughter to work as a domestic help at the judge’s house, referred by an acquaintance named Chaudhry Mukhtar, seven months ago. The parents discovered the horrifying truth about their daughter’s situation on Monday, July 23, during a visit to the judge’s residence.
The complainant stated in the FIR, “When we entered the gate, we heard my daughter crying. Hearing that made me concerned so we went towards the room and found my daughter in a wounded condition […].” He alleged that his daughter had endured severe torture at the hands of the judge’s wife, with visible marks of abuse all over her body.
The FIR detailed major injuries, including swelling on the lips and eyes, broken teeth, ribs, and strangling marks on the neck. The complainant accused Somia of subjecting his daughter to torture and keeping her in illegal custody since the day she started working at the judge’s house, demanding appropriate action be taken in the matter.