Man buries his baby alive after being born deformed

By: Shifra Unger 

Stories of fathers killing their own babies are very rare.

Pakistani police arrested a man accused of burying his newborn daughter alive, because she was physically deformed, officials said.

The shocking incident illustrates the extreme prejudice in Pakistan against children, especially girls, who are born with some type of physical deformity. They are often seen as shameful to the family, especially in the rural and impoverished countryside, where they are seen as a burden for the family.

Mohammed Anwar, a police officer in the city of Khanewal, in the eastern province of Punjab, said the boy was born at a hospital in the nearby city of Kacha Khoh.

After seeing his newborn daughter, the father told the family that the baby was stillborn and organized a funeral, the chief of police of the city, Shamshad Khalid, said.

The child began to cry at the funeral service and the cleric told the father to take the child to a hospital, said Khalid. Instead, the man, identified by police as Chand Khan, buried her. Residents alerted authorities after seeing her father carrying the baby to the cemetery after which the police raided the man's house and arrested him on charges of murder.

Khan, who has four other children, did not tell his wife about his plans to get rid of the child, the police chief said, adding that the woman was still in the hospital when the baby was buried.

Mohammad Farooq, a doctor at al-Shifa hospital in Kacha Khoh, said he had seen the child after birth. He said she was healthy and alive, but had a large head and the characteristics of being "abnormal".

"I am a doctor in the same hospital where the child was born. This man came to me yesterday with a request that had to do something to get rid of his daughter, but I rebuffed him and told him to leave," said Farooq. "Nobody has the right to kill anyone because of their physical deformity," he said.

He approached another doctor and requested that the doctor poison his daughter to death. This other doctor also refused his request.

Police said they will exhume the child's body and perform an autopsy. The father could be sentenced to death if convicted of killing his daughter.