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 said.
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 courtroom with others accused in the case on Thursday, Musa was seen crying as his grandfather Muhammad Yasin held him on his shoulder.
Mr 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.
Judge Rafaqat Ali Qamar ordered the inspector to be suspended and granted the child bail, though he will have to appear at the next hearing on April 12.
But Mr Sadiq, the lawyer, said the charges against the child should have been dropped.
“The court should have simply referred the minor’s case to the High Court to drop the charges against the innocent child and acquit him from the case,” Mr Sadiq said.
“This case also exposes the incompetence of our police force and the way they are operating,” he added. [AFP]