Dubai: A 16-year-old house help was brutally tortured and murdered by her employers in Lahore, Pakistan, leading to an outcry on social media.
Pictures of the girl’s mangled body were widely shared on social media, with users distraught over the case and demanding government action to address workers’ rights in the country. With the incident gaining attention online, #JusticeForUzma became a national trend on Twitter Pakistan. Several Twitter users even tagged Prime Minister Imran Khan’s official Twitter account to demand government action.
According to reports on social media and on Pakistani television channels, the girl - Uzma Bibi - was regularly beaten up and had several fractures as a result. She was also made to sleep on the floor of a bathroom at night and when her family came to the house to meet her, they were told that she was in another city.
Earlier this week, she was hit by her employer for taking some food, according to accounts posted in the media. After the girl fell unconscious, the family tried to resuscitate her by electrocuting her using wires at home.
However, Dunya TV reported that the girl was strangled to death and the body dumped.
Tweep @IlyasSargana96 wrote: “Three women, accused of murdering and dumping the body of their maid, Uzma Bibi, for eating some meat from a curry. The accused was taken into police custody where she confessed to committing the crime during interrogation. What is going on! #JusticeForUzma”
Another Twitter user, @ShahzadiSpeaks, shared details that were emerging from the case and wrote: “This is beyond disgusting. The issue of domestic workers in South Asia ... its sickening that they are being treated as if they are not human. #JusticeforUzma”
Workers Protection Bill
This is not the first case of an abused underage house help that has been highlighted in Pakistani media. In October last year, the hashtag #JusticeForKinza was also used after a video showing an 11-year-old girl brutally beaten up by her employers went viral.
During the Twitter storm, the country’s human rights minister, Shireen Mazari, said that her ministry was in the process of drafting a comprehensive domestic workers protection bill. However, the bill has not yet been presented in the National Assembly.