9-Month-Old Pakistani Boy Slapped with Attempted Murder Charges
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | April 7, 2014 3:03 PM EST
Mohammad Musa has yet to perhaps take his first unguided step or perhaps even say his first word, but he already has a crime charged against his very young name. At only nine months old, Mohammad has been booked for attempted murder in Pakistan. He has appeared in court for the first time on Thursday, April 3, seated on his grandfather's lap sucking on a milk bottle.
A woman displaced from a drought-stricken area takes care of her baby boy, who is suffering stomach infection, at the Civil Hospitaaal in Mithi, in the Sindh province March 12, 2014. Dozens of children have died of malnutrition and other causes in Pakistan's southern region this year, prompting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to travel to the drought-stricken area to allocate $10 million in emergency aid. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said 18 children under the age of five had died in January and another 23 in February. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomroa
Mohammad was arrested along with over two dozen other members of his family for attempted murder, threatening a police, and interfering in state affairs. Police alleged they threw rocks at gas company officials carrying out an anti-theft inspection in Lahore on Feb 1.
The gas and electricity supplies to the houses of residents who hadn't paid their bills were reportedly being cut off that time.
It was presumed the residents threw rocks at the police in mere frustration over their plight.
The boy's father, who was also arrested, said false reports were made against him and 25 others by the police. "Our crime is that we had protested against non-availability of electricity in our locality," he told Times Of India.
Mohammad has been alleged as being part of the group. The baby Pakistani boy may have thrown a rock, mot probably triggered by the scenario around him.
But to prove that young 9-month-old Mohammad threw the rock with the intention to kill is all together a different thing.
Video footage from the hearing released showed the boy being fingerprinted while sitting on his grandfather's lap. He was granted bail on April 3, but is expected to reappear in court on April 12.
The minimum age for criminal responsibility in Pakistan is generally 12. On that note alone, the murder charges slapped against young Mohammad should have been immediately dropped, Chaudhry Irfan Sadiq, the family's lawyer, told Agence-France Presse.
"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," Sadiq said. "This case also exposes the incompetence of our police force and the way they are operating."
The judge presiding over the case said he did not dismiss the case against the child because it was not within his jurisdiction.
"A nine month old can never commit such a crime. This incident took place due to sheer misunderstanding on the police's part and was not done on purpose," The Express Tribune quoted Rana Abdul Jabbar, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), who was responsible for suspending Kashif Muhammed, the Pakistani policeman who charged the 9-month-old boy with attempted murder. Mr Rana had ordered a probe into the incident.
"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 young boy's grandfather told AFP.
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