Beaming news bulletins heralded the media, justice, and the chief justice, last night. A newborn, retained by a private clinic administration on the pretext of nonpayment of delivery charges, was rescued after the Good Samaritan took note of a news ticker. He called for immediate action, and the newborn was ‘rescued’ and retuned to the mother. Joy.
Subsequent investigations, however, revealed that the story was murkier than that, and that the newborn was willingly given up by the mother.
A private medical facility ‘snatched’ a newborn from its mother since she could not pay the delivery charges, worth Rs3,000/-, a television channel reported Friday night.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary took suo motu notice immediately, following the reporting of the incident, and directed the district and sessions judge Faisalabad Raja Akhlaq Ahmad to promptly make arrangements to return the baby to its mother, after making the payment to the hospital.
On the CJP’s direction, Justice Ahmad and senior civil judge Faisalabad Rafqat Ali Gondal rushed to the clinic and recovered the baby from the house of one Zulfiqar in Muradabad Colony, the clinic owner said.
Investigations by an inquiry team, comprising the two judges involved in the baby’s rescue, revealed that the clinic was being run by a midwife, Shahida Parveen, in the vicinity of Ghulam Muhammad Abad.
Parveen informed the investigators that the baby was born on October 7 to Ghafooran Bibi, who, in the presence of four persons of the locality, took an undertaking along with her father that she is unable to look after the baby due to lack of financial resources.
It was further revealed that Ghafooran was married to a Mustafa Muradabad on June 3, 2011. When the inquiry team, through the police, took her husband into custody, he confirmed that he had married Ghafooran but divorced her on September 12 after he found out that she was carrying someone else’s child. He also produced a copy of the divorce document.
Ghafooran had willingly given up the custody of her child in favour of an issue-less family, Parveen told the inquiry committee.
In line with the mother’s undertaking, Parveen handed over the newborn to Zulfiqar, who took it for his issue-less sister.
The allegation of the clinic detaining the baby due to non-payment of delivery charges was not substantiated.
“Prima facie, no such occurrence was substantiated,” Justice Ahmad said, and recommended that the case be consigned to record.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2011.