The death of 10-year-old Fatima Furiro would have passed sadly but quietly had it not been for the two graphic videos that turned up on social media. The little girl’s body was this week exhumed for a postmortem examination, days after the videos mysteriously appeared online.
One appeared to show signs of torture on Fatima’s body, while the other showed her writhing in agony, and struggling to sit up, before collapsing.
There was immediate pressure on her parents to lodge a formal complaint, and police in Sindh province’s Khairpur district arrested her employer, Asad Ali Shah Jeelani, over the child’s death. Jeelani, who is a pir, an influential spiritual leader in a Sufi sect, has denied any wrongdoing.
As she mourned her child, Shabnam Furiro said sending her three daughters to work in the home of Jeelani would remain a lifelong regret. “All of this was not worth the 3,000 rupees [£8] every month we received in return,” she said by phone from her village of Ali Muhammad Furiro, almost 250 miles (400km) north of the port city of Karachi.
Fatima is not the first child to have died allegedly at the hands of her employers; she is also unlikely to be the last.