LAHORE: While many children his age are still learning how to crawl, a nine-month-old boy in Pakistan has been accused of attempted murder in a case observers say highlights endemic flaws in the country’s legal system.
Baby Mohammad Musa along with his father and other family members was booked for throwing rocks at gas company officials in the working-class Ahata Thanedaran neighbourhood on February 1, the family’s lawyer Chaudhry Irfan Sadiq told AFP Friday. Inspector Kashif Muhammad, who attended the alleged crime scene and has since been suspended, wrote in his report that it was a case of attempted murder. Appearing in a packed court room with others accused in the case on Thursday, Musa was seen crying as his grandfather Muhammad Yasin held him on his shoulder. Yasin later fed him milk from a bottle while fielding questions from reporters.
“Everyone in the court was saying ‘How can such a small child be implicated in any case’? What kind of police do we have?” the 50-year-old labourer said. The charge is in direct contradiction with Pakistan’s minimum age of criminal responsibility, which was raised from seven to 12 years in 2013 except in terrorism cases. Yasin accused the police of fabricating the charges because they were colluding with a rival party who wanted to see the accused evicted from their land and had obtained an order to remove their gas connections.
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