At least five infants lost their lives due to malnutrition and diseases at Civil Hospital Mithi — bringing this year's toll of infant deaths in Sindh's Thar desert to 64.

Talking to Dawn, the district health officer in Mithi informed that more than 11 thousand ailing children were brought to six different health facilities in the district for treatment since the beginning of this year.

According to the official figures, last year 479 minors lost their lives, a list which excludes data from the urban areas of Karachi and Hyderabad.

Health and Nutrition Development Society (HANDS) CEO Dr Shaikh Tanveer Ahmed and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's (PTI) Haleem Adil Shaikh expressed their grave concerns over the unabated deaths of infants and asked the Sindh government to take initiatives in the light of a recent UN report on the worsening situation in Thar.

They urged that there was need to give special focus to the Thar region, where fatalities of minor children, pregnant women, and birds were being reported daily.

The UN commission stated that the situation in desert regions, including Thar, might slip to the level of a 'humanitarian emergency'. The report added that main vulnerabilities pertaining to water crises, healthcare, and remoteness were the most crucial factors. The ailing infants’ parents complained of a lack of facilities in various government hospitals.

Three women murdered

In separate incidents, three women were killed in Khairpur, Ghotki and Larkana districts during past 24 hours.

A teenager Irshad Khatoon was allegedly tortured to death by her husband in Mihyoon Bhangho village of in Khairpur district late on Tuesday. Khatoon was married three days before the incident.

Police have arrested the husband on the charges of murdering his young wife.

A police official told Dawn that a First Information Report (FIR) was being registered on the complaint of the victim's father, Mohammad Bux Bhango. The police official went on to say that he could not rule out the possibility of the murder being an honour killing.

In another incident, a man strangled his niece to death in Dost Mohammad Shar village in Ghotki district. This victim was a mother of four children.

The Ravanti police took the body of the victim to a local hospital for a postmortem and subsequently arrested the accused. According to the local police and journalists, no FIR was filed till the filing of this report.

Separately, Rasheeda Shah was killed by her husband in Syed Bachal Shah village near Bakrani town in Larkana district. The husband, according to the police, attacked the mother of three children with a spade, killing her on the spot. Bakrani police arrested the alleged killer and his brother.