The Islamabad District and Sessions Court’s decision to grant interim bail to Soumya Asim, the wife of a civil judge and the main accused in the Rizwana torture case, has sparked public anger and criticism.
Soumya Asim is accused of torturing Rizwana, a 14-year-old maid who worked at her house, and causing her severe injuries and poisoning. Rizwana is currently undergoing treatment at the General Hospital in Lahore, where her condition is critical.
The court granted bail to Soumya Asim till August 7 against a surety of Rs100,000, despite the fact that the case against her involves sections of attempted murder and breaking bones of most parts of the body. The medical board that examined Rizwana said that she was diagnosed with sepsis, a life-threatening infection, and that the next 24 hours were crucial for her survival.
The case has also triggered outrage on social media, where many users have demanded justice for Rizwana and accountability for Soumya Asim. The hashtag #JusticeForRizwana has been trending on Twitter, with many users expressing their shock and anger over the brutality and impunity of the accused.
Rizwana’s parents have also appealed for justice and said that they could not bear to see the condition of their daughter. They said that Rizwana used to work at Soumya Asim’s house with her own will, but she was treated cruelly and tortured by her. They said that they want the accused to be punished according to the law.
The case has exposed the plight of domestic workers in Pakistan, especially young girls who are often exploited and abused by their employers. According to a report by Human Rights groups, Pakistan has no law regulating domestic work or protecting domestic workers’ rights. The report also said that domestic workers face a range of abuses, including physical and sexual violence, non-payment of wages, excessive working hours, and confinement.
The police have added more sections to the FIR against Soumya Asim after facing public pressure and criticism for registering a weak case against her. The police initially registered a case under sections 337-A (causing hurt), 337-F (causing grievous hurt) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). However, after Rizwana’s medical report revealed that she was poisoned and had multiple fractures in her body, the police added sections 324 (attempted murder) and 325 (punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt) of the PPC to the FIR.