Born to die

Published: January 8, 2012
According to Edhi Foundation, the extent of infanticide in Pakistan has grown by some 100 percent over the last decade. PHOTO: FILE

According to Edhi Foundation, the extent of infanticide in Pakistan has grown by some 100 percent over the last decade. PHOTO: FILE

According to the Edhi Foundation, the extent of infanticide in the country has grown by some 100 percent over the last decade. A spokesperson for the organisation has been quoted as saying that more bodies were being found in the streets in urban centres than ever before. Most of the tiny corpses belong to girls, considered an economic burden by many families. We can only wonder at the impact of religion at such moments, and wonder why the clerics so rarely bring up the teachings of Islam against female infanticide. The ministry of religious affairs should be working to have the message driven home from every mosque. A situation in which over 1,200 bodies of slain infants were found in a single year is after all not one to be disregarded.

It is believed that some of the infants, who are killed within a few hours of being born, are illegitimate; many others die simply because their parents are too poor to raise them. It is this that explains the fact that more girls than boys are murdered. After all, the number born out of wedlock is likely to include an equal number of male and female infants. There is also a question here of mindset. In the 400 cradles placed outside its centres by the Edhi Foundation, only some 200 babies are left each year. People evidently prefer to murder their children — rather than give them a future, and allow adoption by, say, a childless couple.

Such thinking is hard to understand — but it says something about how brutal we have become as a society. Nothing seems to move us any longer. It take immense hardness of heart — or perhaps sheer desperation — to kill a helpless child. Since poverty appears to be a root cause, this too needs to be addressed. We also need to look at the reasons behind our failure to promote family planning, allowing people to limit the burdens they face and perhaps saving the lives of infants who die even as they are born, ending up on garbage dumps or open plots of land.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • abdul jabbar
    Jan 8, 2012 - 9:39PM

    No child is illegitimate.Having a maulvi utter phrases in a foreign language before conception doesn’t make that child any more superior to those babies born out of wedlock.there are thousands of childless couples in pakistan who would love to adopt children.Another hindrance to adoption is that the law cruelly forbids the adopted child to take on the name of the father who raises him/her as his own.


  • muhammad faraz
    Jan 8, 2012 - 10:04PM

    @abdul jabbar: yes,there is such a horrific stigma against children born out of wedlock.The threat of honour killing,the fear of persecution by society,the threats of the religious fanatics all contribute towards that horrible step of taking the life of your own baby.


  • Usman
    Jan 8, 2012 - 10:28PM

    @ abdul jabbar. Which law in Pakistan isnt cruel? Pakistan’s adoption law ensures that adopted children are discriminated against all their life


  • Babloo
    Jan 8, 2012 - 10:33PM

    under whose influence and under what philosophy were such cruel and discriminatory laws made that institutionalize discrimination against newborns out of wedlock ? Please explain ?


  • V
    Jan 9, 2012 - 9:11AM

    Not giving an adopted kid your name – is that Pakistan’s law or Islam’s law?


  • correct option
    Jan 9, 2012 - 3:13PM

    “Not giving an adopted kid your name – is that Pakistan’s law or Islam’s law?”

    would love to know the answer. Could someone help please?



  • Usman
    Jan 9, 2012 - 6:49PM

    @V. The only law that Quran lays down is the right of the child to know who his biological parents are. The emphasis is on the childs right to not have the matter of his adoption hidden from him.
    It is specifically mentioned that adopted names can freely be used if the biological parents are unknown.
    The verse finishes by saying that this is all trivial and what matters most is the intention of the hearts


  • Raheel
    Jan 9, 2012 - 7:01PM

    @Usman: Thank you for the explanation; goes a long way in removing misconceptions. Would really appreciate it if you could also give the reference to the exact verses in Quran. Thanks

    Very good editorial.


  • Ali
    Jan 9, 2012 - 7:55PM

    thanks for the explanation Usman… just goes to show how out of touch our laws and mullahs are!


  • Farhan
    Jan 10, 2012 - 3:31AM

    Please adopt a child, and thats ONE GOOD DEED you all need to be doing.. Wish people were more aware to be handing over the infants to Edhi foundation rather leaving them to die.. and we call ourselves MUSLIMS.. so called Labelled Muslims..


  • Fatima
    Jan 12, 2012 - 1:53AM

    What else can we expect from the people of Pakistan ? Its brutality everywhere, not just in villages but also in cities. No one’s ready to help anyone. Everyone’s just gonna stare and talk about it but no one’s going to Come out and solve the problem. I’m sorry to say but as im growing up, I’m hating the people of Pakistan more and more everyday .


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