LAHORE - A wife of an unemployed drug addict killed her two kids at a Johar Town house on Wednesday. The penniless woman was reportedly unable to feed the kids for the last three days.

The deeply depressed mother strangled her eight-month-old baby boy shortly after she dipped her two-year-old daughter to death in a water tub. Her husband was in deep slumber on the bed when she killed her kids in the attached bathroom.

Police arrested 23-year-old Bissma and her 29-year-old husband, Sunny Khan. Investigators say the mother, who confessed to the killings, is mentally fit. A police officer told The Nation that the killed baby girl Minahal appeared to have been dipped in water tub while toddler Muhammad Yousaf died from injuries and suffocation.

The woman told the police that Khan was a drug addict with no job and no earnings. Her marriage with Khan was arranged through a private marriage bureau four years ago. Her father Muhammad Tahir, said to be a scrap-dealer, was bearing the expenses of his daughter and her kids since her marriage.

Recently, Tahir told his daughter that he could not finance her family anymore because he himself was facing financial constraints. Tahir told reporters that he had given 15-tola gold ornaments to her daughter as dowry but her husband sold out the jewellry to smoke chars. The woman said that her father had also helped her husband start a rent-a-bike business but he sold all motorcycles for drugs.

The couple was residing in a single bedroom – with attached bath – of the one-Kanal house (228, Block E) in Johar Town. The rest of the house was occupied by Khan’s other family members, including his brothers and their wives. Block E is adjacent to Block E1, where a cancer patient last month killed seven members of his family before committing suicide.

Police said the couple was screaming when the other family members rushed to their room and found the babies lying dead on the bed, next to each other. They contacted the police instantly. The husband admitted to investigators that he was addicted to chars but claimed that he had no role in the killings.

Police removed the bodies to the morgue for autopsy and registered the case against the woman on the complaint of a brother of Sunny Khan. Sitting outside the police station, the great-grandmother of the kids demanded the police hang the couple. “They are merciless and they deserve no mercy,” the sobbing old woman said.

A police investigator who examined the crime scene told this reporter that the mother removed the bandage of her son, who underwent circumcise just four days ago, and strangulated him with the bandage. When the man woke up at about 11am, he asked his wife why there was silence and where the kids were. He asked the mother to bring their son so he could change his dressing. “The woman replied. It is not needed anymore. Kids have been silenced,” an official quoted a family member as telling the investigators. The killer mother told the police that her children had not been fed for last three days.

“Poverty is not a crime but destitution is indeed,” wrote renowned Russian playwright Dostoevsky in his widely read novel ‘Crime and Punishment’, and it seems so true in this unfortunate case. Sixty percent of Pakistan’s population is living below the poverty line, according to a World Bank report entitled World Development Indicators (WDI) 2013. In January, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal admitted that poverty had gone from 34 per cent in 2007 to 40 per cent in 2012.