KARACHI: The bodies of two new-born babies — a girl and a boy — were recovered from a garbage pile in Korangi's Zaman Town in Karachi.
This is the second incident of its kind in a week. Two days earlier, the body of a newborn baby girl was recovered from Korangi's Changa Chowrangi.
Abandoned infants are sometimes recovered from junkyards and isolated places where parents feel the risk of being captured by police is low.
Statistics have revealed that a total of 45 bodies have been recovered in the city in 2014 alone while the ratio of female infants is higher as compared to male infants.
These bodies are buried without any legal proceedings or formalities and are handed to Chippa volunteers after a police inquiry. No action is taken against those perpetrating this crime and the police often do not register First Information Reports (FIRs) against the incident as the family is untraceable.
Read more: Killings of newborns on the rise
In Pakistan, the birth of children outside of marriage is condemned and adultery is a crime punishable by death under strict interpretations of Islamic law.
More than 1,000 infants – most of them girls – were killed or abandoned to die in Pakistan in 2010 according to conservative estimates by the Edhi Foundation.
The infanticide figures are collected only from Pakistan’s main cities, leaving out huge swathes of the largely rural nation, and the charity says that in December 2010 alone it found 40 dead babies left in garbage dumps and sewers.
According to statistics compiled in 2009, the number of dead infants was 1,210 – up from 890 in 2008 and 999 in 2009, says the Edhi Foundation manager in Karachi, Anwar Kazmi.
Most children found are less than a week old.
“People leave these children mostly because they think they are illegitimate, but they are as innocent and loveable as all human beings,” the charity’s founder, humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi, said in an earlier interview with AFP.
Girls are seen by many Pakistanis as a greater economic burden as most women are not permitted to work and are considered to be the financial responsibility of their fathers, and later their husbands.
A family can be forced to raise more than one million rupees ($11,700) to marry their daughter off.
Edhi says that up to 200 babies are left in its 400 cradles nationwide each year and that it handles thousands of requests for adoption by childless couples.
Abortion is prohibited in Pakistan, except when the mother’s life is at risk from her pregnancy, but advocates say that legalisation would reduce infanticide and save mothers from potentially fatal back-street terminations.
According to Pakistani law, anyone found to have abandoned an infant can be jailed for seven years, while anyone guilty of secretly burying a child can be imprisoned for two years. Murder is punishable with life imprisonment.
But crimes of infanticide are rarely prosecuted.