Although Pakistan’s judicial system has been unable to prosecute terrorists such as Hafiz Saeed and Osama Bin Laden, it does press attempted murder charges against Musa Khan, a boy who is only nine months old. In Pakistan, many people steal electricity and gas by tapping into the lines without paying. In this case, workers from energy companies were disconnecting customers that were not paying for electricity or gas. The police accompanied these workers. When people are disconnected from electricity and gas in Pakistan, they often respond violently.
In this case, people rioted and attacked the police with stones. In retaliation, the police charged over two dozen people in the neighborhood with attempted murder, including Musa Khan’s father. Musa Khan was taken to the court to get bail on April 3, and had to be soothed with a milk bottle as his thumbprint was recorded. As Musa Khan’s grandfather Muhammad Yasin asserted, Musa “does not even know how to pick up his milk bottle properly – how can he stone the police?” Yasin accuses the police of making up the charges so that the family of the accused could be evicted from their property.
Musa was granted bail and has to appear in court again on April 12. Furthermore, the inspector who charged him was suspended and the provincial government will investigate the case. In Pakistan, the minimum age of criminal responsibility is seven years. Since Musa is well below this age, the family’s lawyer Chaudhry Irfan Sadiq said that the judge should have dropped all charges instead of scheduling another hearing.
This case brings up questions about the Pakistani police force and judicial system. For instance, critics assert that the police exaggerate and create false charges in exchange for bribes. Furthermore, both the police force and judicial system are accused of being incompetent and corrupt.
Due to the media exposure, Musa is likely to be cleared of the charges. The chief minister of the Punjab Province, Shahbaz Sharif, has asked for an investigation of the event. In addition, the judge has requested an explanation from the police. For now, Musa is free until his next hearing on April 12.
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