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Pakistan father shoots dead 7 day old baby girl cause he wanted a boy

Shahzaib Khan Pakistan father
Shahzaib Khan Pakistan father shoots dead 7 day old baby girl cause he wanted a boy. Images via social media.
Shahzaib Khan Pakistan father
Shahzaib Khan Pakistan father shoots dead 7 day old baby girl cause he wanted a boy. Image via social media.

Shahzaib Khan Pakistan father shoots dead 7 day old baby girl cause he wanted his first born child to be a boy. Female infanticide in developing nations. 

A Pakistani father has been arrested on suspicion of shooting dead his seven-day-old baby girl because he wanted his first-born child to be a boy. The killing has led to public outcry and condemnation and once again brought attention to the unrelenting issue of female infanticide – the deliberate killing of females – in developing nations. 

The newborn baby named Jannat – meaning ‘heaven’ in Urdu – was shot five times on Monday at her home in the central city of Mianwali according to police. 

Shahzaib Khan, the child’s father allegedly entered his house and ordered his wife to hand over Jannat before shooting dead the week-old baby, reported Dawn newspaper.

Shahzaib, who has been married for two years, then fled the scene only to be arrested on Thursday in a nearby district, police said. 

In some parts of Pakistan tribal customs mean that baby girls can be considered an insult to manhood.

‘A baby girl was born…he was infuriated,’

The girl’s maternal uncle, Hidayatullah Khan, launched a formal complaint against the suspect for the killing.

‘A baby girl was born…he was infuriated,’ Hidayatullah said, referring to the father.

The relative said Shahzaib had not returned to the family home after discovering his wife had given birth to a baby girl and refused to accept her. 

Hidayatullah said the suspect entered the family home where relatives had gathered and ordered his wife to hand over Jannat to him.

‘The suspect took the girl into his hands and shot her dead,’ he told Dawn.  

Hidayatullah claimed that he had tried to take the baby away from Shahzaib but the suspect had pointed the gun at him and the other relatives and threatened to shoot them if they moved closer.   

The case sparked fury in Pakistan, with the public condemning the ‘brutal’ death of the newborn baby. 

Female infanticide prevalent in developing nations

‘This is beyond barbaric,, brutal and vicious. The only solution to stop this brutality is hanging him publicly,’ Tehseen Qasim wrote on Twitter. 

‘I’m disgusted to the core. I feel terribly for the mother. Look at the beautiful daughter she had. Women lead the world, it’s 2022,’ wrote Misbah Munir, another Twitter user.

Aurat Azadi March, a women’s collective that holds annual rallies against the violation of women’s rights in Pakistan, said the incident came right before International Women’s Day and showed the country’s reality in terms of the treatment of women and girls.

‘We need to wake up to the reality of this country and fight against such injustice and oppression,’ the collective said in a tweet.

The killing of female children otherwise known as female infanticide is in large part a reflection of society’s view of women and females as second class citizens and seeing them as a burden rather than an advantage to a family’s ascent and social standing.

Human rights groups say girls and women face regular violence in Pakistan, which sits three spots above the bottom of the World Economic Forum’s 2021 gender Gap Index.   

Favouring boys over girls

Faisal Edhi, who heads the largest social welfare charity group in Pakistan’s largest city Karachi, reported that over 500 bodies of infants were found dumped over the past two years. Most were girls according to a report.  

Reports Dawn: ‘Favouring boys over girls is not a new phenomenon. It exists in all developing countries and is widespread in China and India, as well as in Pakistan and in some Central Asian and African countries. The male to female sex ratio is skewed in such countries, attributed mainly to the killing of female foetuses (made convenient through the use of ultrasound imaging) and newborns, and neglect of girl children.’ 

There have been a number of high-profile cases in recent years of fathers killing their daughters in Pakistan because they consider them a burden, with males considered the more ‘valuable’ gender. 

In 2015, Irshad Ahmed killed his three young daughters, twins Chashman and Aman aged seven and a five-year-old Fiza, after encouraging his wife Shabana Naz to attend a wedding with their only son. 

Shabana only took one of her daughters, the youngest aged two, after refusing to leave her behind at their home in Chak Jumra town, around 135 miles northwest of Lahore.

When she returned from the wedding, Shabana discovered the bodies of the three little girls lying in the bed – and their father gone. 

Shabana said Ahmed had believed his daughters to be worthless, claiming they would mean the family would ‘die of hunger’. 

The father is alleged to have claimed not wanting to ‘waste money on their education’.

In 2013, Umar Zaib, 28, was arrested in Pakistan for drowning his 18-month-old daughter because he had wanted a son instead.