Edhi Foundation: 355 dead infants found in Pakistani rubbish dumps in 2017

The Pakistani charity the Edhi Foundation says it found 355 dead infants in rubbish dumps across the country in 2017, and 99 percent of them were girls.

180 dead infants were found in Karachi in 2017 with as many as 72 dead girls buried in the first four months of this year by the Edhi Foundation.

Chhipa Welfare Foundation, another NGO, came across 93 cases in Karachi where newborn girls were killed – around 70 babies in 2017 and 23 in this year.

“We have been dealing with such cases for years and there are a few such incidents which shook our souls as much. It left us wondering whether our society is heading back to a primitive age,” Anwar Kazmi, a senior manager in Edhi Foundation Karachi, told The News.

“Though people abandon these innocent souls but as a welfare organisation we cannot. We give them a proper burial and perform other rituals for these babies. After completing the hospital and police formalities, we bury them in our own graveyard. The burial and other rituals cost us around Rs 2,000 per child. I wonder how poor can a person be that he/she cannot afford Rs 2,000 to give a proper burial to their child,” said Shahid Mehmood of the Chhipa Welfare Organisation.

In many major cities of Pakistan, the Edhi foundation has installed baby cradles so that people can leave unwanted children there instead of killing them. The number of such sites is in hundreds across the country but this initiative has received little success so far.

Incidents of infanticide are occurring in poor areas where people have no access to basic necessities.

Police say term poverty and illiteracy is the root cause of infanticide, but the Edhi Foundation says the majority of cases infanticide are due to out of wedlock births.

Child abandonment and infanticide are both criminal offences in Pakistan. Punishments range from a fine to imprisonment or both.

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