The infant was born Thursday, July 12, 2012 in a hospital in the nearby town of Kacha Khoh. She would have been Khan’s fifth child but after seeing his newborn daughter and realizing she was physically deformed, he is said to have been shocked and embarrassed and started planning on how to dispose of her, even asking doctors to get ‘rid’ of the baby, suggesting they use poison. Doctors refused.
‘I am a doctor at the same hospital where this child was born. This man came to me yesterday with a request that I should do something to dispose of his child, but I snubbed him and said get out. ‘No one has the right to kill anyone because of his or her physical deformity.’ Mohammed Farooq, a doctor at al-Shifa hospital who cared for the baby after it’s birth.
Photo of Chand Khan with his face covered, being arrested in 2012
Khan then went and told relatives that the child had been a still-born, and many believed him until the baby let out a cry during the funeral service which was held on the evening of July 14, 2012. Many stunned witnesses told Khan to rush his daughter to the hospital but he had a different plan in mind.
“After seeing his newborn daughter, Anwar told his relatives that the baby was born dead. He organized a funeral for her. During the funeral service the baby started crying. The presiding cleric told the father to rush the baby girl to the hospital but instead of going to the hospital he buried the baby,” Shamshad Khalid, the town’s police chief said.
Photo of Khan being prison bars in 2012
Residents alerted the police after seeing Khan take the baby to a graveyard in Katcha Khowa, Khanewal, in the eastern Punjab province of Pakistan shortly after the funeral service. Police raided his house and arrested him for murder.
The infant’s body was exhumed and an autopsy was performed which indicated she had been alive when she was buried. She was only 2 days old.
“She was healthy and alive but she had a fairly large head and abnormal features,” said Farooq.
Khan did not tell his wife, who was still recovering from the birth at the hospital, about his plans to get rid of their child.
Pakistani human rights activist Farzana Bari has condemned the incident and Raghab Naeemi, a prominent Pakistan religious scholar, demanded a stern punishment for the man if he is found guilty.
The case has also shed light on prejudices in Pakistan against children, especially girls, who are born with physical deformities and/or mental retardation. Many feel embarrassed and shameful and Khan’s case proves that some will go great lengths to dispose of the shame.
Reports said that if found guilty, Khan will receive the death penalty.