Pakistani police arrested a man accused of burying his newborn daughter alive because she was physically deformed, officials said Saturday.
The shocking incident illustrates the sometimes extreme prejudices in Pakistan against children, especially girls that are born with any type of physical deformities. Mohammed Anwar, a police officer in the city of Khanewal in the eastern Punjab province, said the child was born at a hospital in the nearby town of Kacha Khoh.
After seeing his newborn daughter, the father told relatives that the baby was born dead and organized a funeral service, said Shamshad Khalid, the town’s police chief.
The child started crying during the service and the presiding cleric told the father to take the girl to the hospital, Khalid said. Instead, the man, identified by police as Chand Khan, buried her. Residents alerted the authorities after seeing the father taking the baby to the graveyard, after which police raided the man’s house and arrested him on a murder charge.
He said the child’s funeral service was held inside a mosque, and the child’s cry drew the attention of the cleric and those who were attending the funeral.
Pakistani human rights activist Farzana Bari also condemned the incident. Police say they will exhume the child’s body and perform an autopsy. The father could be sentenced to death if he’s found guilty of killing his daughter.