The body of a newborn baby was excavated from the Malikpur graveyard in Faisalabad on Monday evening.
According to police officials, an eyewitness Muhammad Sharif said, “The newborn baby of local resident Akram died last year and was buried in the graveyard. On Monday morning, we saw that the infant’s grave had been dug out from one side and the corpse was missing.”
The news of the grave robbing spread in the locality like wildfire and a large number of people gathered in the cemetery to see the condition of the grave from where the corpse had been taken. “Some were saying that the grave was probably dug up by animals but sadly it is much more likely that the body was taken by local pirs to be used for black magic purposes,” said Malikpur resident Hassan Chughtai. “There are pir’s who believe that performing magic on the bodies of infants brings long life,” he added.
Police officials said that the crime was becoming common in neighbouring areas. “There have been several reports of grave digging and theft incidents over the past few months but this is the first one that has involved the body of an infant,” said Inspector Rana Nawaz Sahu. Local resident Muhammad Ismail told police that some local quacks asked for the organs of children to ‘assist’ issue-less couples conceive. “Quackery is exceedingly common here and some pirs ask for the blood of an owl or the liver of a newborn to prepare ‘medicines’ for issue-less couples.”
Police officials said that they had questioned the deceased child’s parents who had expressed their outrage over the incident. “A hospital nurse said that the child died a year ago and was buried here,” said Manshoorabad SHO Arif Wattoo. “Sometimes it is the administration of the hospital that is involved in scamming couples. There have been cases where nurses have taken living newborn children after delivery and sent them to issue-less couples for money and told the parents that their own child died after handing them the body of someone else’s child. Police officials conducted a thorough inspection of the grave site and have begun collecting evidence to search for the accused. SHO Wattoo said that so far the police had no leads into who was responsible for the grave theft but that a police was questioning locals. Police have registered a case on the receipt of a complaint from the deceased infant’s family.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2011.