Born to die

Published: December 1, 2013
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A nameless newborn female infant was dumped on a rubbish heap near Faisalabad. PHOTO: FILE

A nameless newborn female infant was dumped on a rubbish heap near Faisalabad. PHOTO: FILE

There can be few deaths more agonising than death by fire. A nameless newborn female infant was dumped on a rubbish heap near Faisalabad. As is common, those charged with the destruction of the rubbish that people bring for disposal, set fire to the heap — and it was the screams of the child as it burned that alerted them to the tragedy that then unfolded. A Rescue 1122 team was called and the baby, less than 30 hours old it has been estimated, was taken to the hospital at Chak Jhumra with 80 per cent burns. She was later shifted to the emergency ward of the Allied Hospital and a team worked for 19 hours to try and save her but she died of her injuries on November 28, a tiny life snuffed out almost before it had started.

Neither the hospital team, nor Rescue 1122 nor even the men who set fire to the rubbish are responsible for the death of this child, which rests solely with the person that placed her on the rubbish heap. It is unlikely that the person who committed this dreadful act will ever be identified, let alone prosecuted. In all likelihood, it was one of her parents and possibly her mother. Whoever did it might have hoped that the child would be found and taken to one of the refuges or orphanages in the city, as it is hard to believe that she was placed there in the knowledge that she was likely to be consumed by fire.

Babies are abandoned for many reasons. They may be an unwanted female. They may have been born in secret, out of wedlock. They may have been born into a family with a multitude of mouths to feed and one more was simply unsustainable. Whatever the reason, no baby deserves the fiery death that this child had. This child will go to an unmarked grave, unloved and forgotten. The wider tragedy — and disgrace — is that she will be one of hundreds, perhaps thousands that are similarly left behind and die.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2013.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • x
    Dec 1, 2013 - 5:17AM

    So sorry to hear about the little baby. She was probbaly an unwanted female and as a woman myself, this makes my blood boil. I know she is in a better place now, in Allah’s care but she deserved a loving and welcoming family. Shameful indictment on our collective apathy as a society and the social failure to raise the status of women and the failure f the government to reduce such abject poverty where people need to abandon girl childs as they are a burden and another mouth to feed. I hope this story is covered in urdu papers and tv channels and the parents get to hear about it and live with the guilt, if they are capable of it, all their lives. To quote bol, “agar paal nahi sakte toh paida kyun kerte ho?” Even if they had to abandon her, Edhi saabs homes are the place . This was just criminal and inhumane. Allah ki bhot pakar hogi!

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  • yousafhaque
    Dec 1, 2013 - 6:00AM

    We are a strange people.We honor the dead and we kill the living to ‘save’ honor.Strange,isn’t it?

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