5 Apr 2014

Baby accused of attempted murder

1:51 pm on 5 April 2014

A nine-month-old baby has appeared in a Pakistan court along with other family members accused of attempted murder.

Baby Mohammad Musa and his relatives faced charges after allegedly throwing rocks at gas company officials who had started removing gas meters from houses.

A police inspector who attended the alleged crime scene wrote in his report that it was a case of attempted murder. He has since been suspended.

Appearing in a packed court room with others accused in the case on Thursday, baby Mohammad 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 12 April.

The family's lawyer, Chaudhry Irfan Sadiq, told AFP 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."

"This case also exposes the incompetence of our police force and the way they are operating," he added.