Father 'buried baby girl alive'

Pakistani police have arrested a man accused of burying his newborn daughter alive because she was physically deformed.

Mohammed Anwar, a police officer in the city of Khanewal in the eastern Punjab province, said the child was born on Thursday at a hospital in the nearby town of Kacha Khoh.

After seeing his newborn daughter, the father told relatives that the baby was born dead and organised a funeral service, said Shamshad Khalid, the town's police chief.

The child started crying during the service and the presiding cleric told the father to take the girl to the hospital, Mr Khalid said. Instead, the man, identified by police as Chand Khan, buried her.

Residents alerted the authorities after seeing the father taking the baby to the graveyard, after which police raided the man's house and arrested him on a murder charge.

Khan, who has four other children, did not tell his wife about his plans to get rid of the child, the police chief said, adding that the wife was still at the hospital when the baby was buried.

Mohammed Farooq, a doctor at al-Shifa hospital in Kacha Khoh, said he had seen the child after her birth. He said she was healthy and alive but had a fairly large head and "abnormal" features.

"I am a doctor at the same hospital where this child was born. This man came to me yesterday with a request that I should do something to dispose of his child, but I snubbed him and said get out," Mr Farooq said. "No one has the right to kill anyone because of his or her physical deformity."

Pakistani human rights activist Farzana Bari also condemned the incident. Raghab Naeemi, a prominent Pakistan religious scholar, demanded a stern punishment for the man.

Police say they will exhume the child's body and perform a post mortem. The father could be sentenced to death if he is found guilty of killing his daughter.