A 9-month-old Pakistani boy accused of attempted murder for allegedly throwing stones at police has been sent into hiding because of "vindictive" officials, his grandfather said Tuesday.
Muhammad Musa Khan was charged last week in Lahore along with his father, grandfather and two dozen others after protesters in Muslim Town threw stones at police who accompanied gas company workers trying to collect overdue bills in February.
The boy was brought to court in his grandfather's arms Thursday. He cried when he was fingerprinted, then was granted bail. Another hearing is set for Saturday.
A senior police official said that there had been "a misunderstanding" by police and that the officer who filed the charges — planning a murder, threatening police and interfering in state affairs — has been suspended. Under Pakistani law, no child younger than 7 years old can be charged with a crime.
The English-language newspaper Dawn writes that the baby "had milk feeder in mouth when his grandfather entered the courtroom, a scene that evoked surprise and sympathy." The newspaper added that the case "exposes the level of efficiency and competence of the police and the lower judiciary."
Muhammad Yasin told Reuters that he sent his grandson to the central city of Faisalabad "for protection."
"Police are vindictive," he said. "Now they are trying to settle the issue on personal grounds.
"There is immense pressure on me from various corners," Yasin added, without elaborating.
The chief minister of Punjab has ordered an investigation and demanded "stern action" against the officials who brought the charges.