In 2018, while the entire world chants the slogans of ‘rights for all’ and gender equality, in Pakistani society, female infanticide or femicide remains an actual reality.
Femicide basically refers to killing an infant due to her gender. As absurd as it sounds, even in today’s era of progressive approach, Pakistan’s obsession with sons claims the lives of hundreds of innocent girls every single year.
In last year alone, Edhi Foundation found 355 dead bodies from garbage dumps across the country, while most number (i.e 180) was found across the city of Karachi alone – exposing how grave the situation is.
A senior member from Edhi, Anwar Kazmi, recalls a horrifying incident in Karachi where an infant was STONED to death by a Muslim cleric on the doubt of being an illegitimate child.
“A few people found a baby at the doorstep of a mosque in Karachi, and they handed the baby over to the prayer leader. The cleric decried that this is an ‘illegitimate baby’ and he should be stoned. Resultantly, the baby was stoned to death. I tried to register a case against the cleric, but nothing happened” – shared Anwar with News International.
Kazmi said that though they come across many horrible incidents, this one of stoning a newborn baby still haunts his soul.
Spokesperson of Chippa Welfare Foundation Shahid Mehmood said that even if they are abandoned by their own families, being a welfare organization, they can’t abandon them. They give them a proper burial and bury them in their own graveyards.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, about 4.2 million women in Pakistan experience unintended pregnancies. Extremely limited legalization of abortion leads to couples choosing infanticide. But as 99% of these killed newborns are females, we can’t ignore the fact that the gender plays a major part in it as well.
Even though child abandonment and infanticide both are a crime under Pakistan’s Penal Code, the notion that women can’t contribute to family income and are in fact a ‘burden’ is worsening the situation.
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