The family of a nine month old boy who has been charged with attempted murder in Pakistan has taken the boy into hiding, a relative told Reuters on Tuesday. The baby boy was charged with attempted murder along with his father and grandfather.
In the city of Lahore last week, the infant, Musa Khan, made an appearance in court with his family on Tuesday. The charge comes after his father and grandfather were present in a crowd of people who were protesting against gas cuts and price increases.
As gas company workers attempted to collect past due bills among the crowd of protesters, Pakistani police allege that they were being stoned. Baby Musa and his family are among those being charged for the stoning, or rather, attempted murder. The case has brought Pakistan's criminal justice system vast international attention.
The baby's grandfather has now taken Baby Musa into hiding,.
"Police are vindictive," he said. "Now they are trying to settle the issue on personal grounds, that's why I sent my grandson to Faisalabad for protection," Muhammad Yasin said, referring to a central Pakistani city.
Reuters reports that the baby is currently on bail but is expected to appear at his next court hearing on April 12. The grandfather admitted however, that he is not sure he will bring the baby back to court for this case. Yasin also explained that having the child be charged with attempted murder has brought tremendous stress and pressure on the family.
Baby Musa cried at his first court appearance last week, as an official took his fingerprints. Reuters reports that later on, the baby sucked on his bottle of milk and tried to grab journalists' microphones as his grandfather spoke to the media.
"He does not even know how to pick up his milk bottle properly," Yasin told the press as they surrounded the baby boy. "How can he stone the police?"
It turns out that Baby Musa was only charged with attempted murder because an official complained in a crime report that the whole family had beaten him up and injured his head. Subsequently, everyone, including the 9-month-old baby was charged.
This case is just one of many that has brought Pakistan's criminal justice system some international attention.
According to Reuters, Pakistan's police are poorly trained, underpaid and often seen as corrupt. Their crimes are often considered human rights abuses. Many of Pakistan's police are unable to properly write up a police report, due to a lack of education and proper training. However as some police commanders have explained, a large portion of the nation's federal budget was awarded to the military, while the police received significantly less.
Rana Sanaullah Khan, who serves as a provincial law minister, told Reuters that the provincial chief minister has ordered an investigation, to further look into the charges against Baby Musa. He also revealed that one policeman has already been suspended.
Dismissing those who believe Pakistan may be unjust for charging the baby boy, Khan assured that officials will begin looking into the case seriously. "[The provincial chief minister] has directed police authorities to take action against the officials who booked the infant," he stated.