Pakistani man wants to father 100 children

Mr Sardar Jan Mohammad Khilji enjoying the company of some of his children at his residence in Quetta, Pakistan. Mr Jan, who has 35 children, says he rarely mixes up their names.
Mr Sardar Jan Mohammad Khilji enjoying the company of some of his children at his residence in Quetta, Pakistan. Mr Jan, who has 35 children, says he rarely mixes up their names.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The father of 35, who has three wives, is searching for a fourth one to reach his goal

QUETTA (Pakistan) • A Pakistani father of 35 is now searching for a fourth wife as he romps towards his goal of 100 children, a dubious ambition in the conservative Muslim country where polygamy is rare but still practised.

Mr Sardar Jan Mohammad Khilji, 46, said he believes it is his religious duty to have as many children as possible.

Insisting it is "very rare" that he mixes up his children's names, the medical technician said he juggles their affections by taking turns to attend family events, such as weddings, with them and their mothers.

His current three wives support his procreational and matrimonial goals, he said, adding that they all live in harmony together - though he would not allow Agence France-Presse to speak with them.

It remains rare for men to take multiple wives in the country, but when polygamy does take place, studies have shown it can result in "depression and despair" among wives, while children often struggle to know their father, said Ms Rafia Zakaria, a women's rights activist.

Family lawyer Mohammed Bilal Kasi said the tension can lead to serious legal disputes over property and rights after the father's death.

Mr Jan, who claims he is a qualified medical technician, runs an unregulated clinic where he treats people for minor ailments such as headaches, adding that as he is "serving humanity", he charges just 250 rupees (S$5) per patient while providing his services to the poor for free.

He also runs a seminary funded by donations, where nearly 400 students - including four of his sons - are studying the Quran. He added that he pays for 20 of his 35 children to attend private school.

His household expenditure can reach up to 120,000 rupees per month - more than 10 times Pakistan's average - in a neighbourhood that lacks basic amenities such as tap water.

However, he insisted he has never faced any financial problems trying to care for his brood, without explaining how he could cover all the expenses with just his pay from his job.

Mr Jan conceded that his needs may increase as his children grow and so he is calling on the government to allocate funds for his family's food, education and healthcare - a request that is unlikely to be fulfilled.

But Mr Jan has faith. If the government does not listen, he said, he trusts in God to provide.

While his eldest child is 15, his youngest is just a few weeks old. At the beginning of March, he was a father of just 33. But that month, two more daughters were born within six days of each other, he said.

His marriages were all arranged by his parents. However, his next wedding could be arranged via Facebook because since his story was aired in Pakistani media, he said he has had a slew of marriage offers via the social network.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2016, with the headline 'Pakistani man wants to father 100 children'. Print Edition | Subscribe