Pakistani police search for man suspected of killing baby daughter

Female infanticide is widespread in Pakistan. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: UNSPLASH

LAHORE (REUTERS) - Police in Pakistan are hunting for a man suspected of shooting dead his seven-day-old baby girl because he wanted his first-born to be a boy.

The baby named Jannat, which means heaven in Urdu, was shot multiple times on Monday (March 7), police in the central city of Mianwali and a relative of the baby said.

"A baby girl was born... he was infuriated," Mr Hidayatullah Khan, an uncle of the baby's mother, told Reuters, referring to the father.

Police said the autopsy found that Jannat had been hit by five bullets and was killed instantly.

"We are trying to arrest the accused who is still at large," police officer Hayatullah Khan said.

The murder has sparked public outrage, especially after pictures were posted on social media of the baby moments after the shooting, and later of her funeral.

"And still they ask what are women's rights? Why we need women's rights? Why is women's day celebrated?" said Twitter user Fatima Suhail.

"Why was she denied the right to live?"

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

Female infanticide is also widespread, rights groups say.

Over the last two years, a majority of the more than 500 bodies of infants found dumped in the southern city of Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, were girls, according to Mr Faisal Edhi, head of the largest social welfare charity group in the city.

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