A nine-month-old baby girl, Maha*, was reportedly kidnapped by a woman in a burqa from the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) on Friday.
The Saddar police SHO, Tassawar Ameer, told The Express Tribune that the baby’s parents came to the hospital for treatment of their three-year-old son who was admitted on the 4th floor.
According to statements, Maha’s 11-year-old brother was looking after her while their father went to collect the laboratory reports. A burqa-clad woman, whose face was covered with a veil, asked the boy to get her a soft drink from across the road and accompanied him till the gate. But when the boy returned with the drink after leaving his sister with the woman momentarily, both were nowhere to be found. The police registered an FIR under section 363 relating to kidnapping of minors.
The Roshni Helpline president, Mohammad Ali, said that the kidnapping of minors are rampant in the city. He cited the NGO’s statistics from 2011 during which 2,212 children were kidnapped. These reports were collected from the FIRs registered at 100 police stations across Karachi, which were recorded as non-cognisable offence. Such an offence cannot be investigated unless there is a direct order from the court.
“This particular baby may have been taken by the begging ring or she could be sold to a childless couple,” said Ali. A similar case occurred at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre last year when Ghulam Rasool was kidnapped in August.
The NICH director, Dr Jamal Raza, could not be reached for comment.
*name changed to protect privacy
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2012.