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 country where polygamy is rare but still practised.
Sardar Jan Mohammad Khilji, 46, says 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 with them and their mothers, such as weddings.
His three current wives support his procreational and matrimonial goals, he said, adding that they all live in harmony together - though he would not
allow AFP to speak with them.
At least two of his children appear to support his goals, however, including his eldest child Shagufta Nasreen.
“A large family is like Allah bestowing a case of mangoes,” the 15-year-old explained, adding that she hopes to go into
medicine like her father.
Jan’s eldest son, 13-year-old Mohammed Esa, also wanted to emulate the patriarch - but he has set his sights even higher, resolving that he will have more than 100 children.
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 ($2.30) per patient.
He also runs a seminary funded by donations where nearly 400 students - including four of his sons - are studying the Qur’an, and says he pays for 20 of his 35 children to attend private school.
The household expenditures of his growing empire, however, 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 and sewage, he said.
He insisted he has never faced any financial problems trying to care for his brood, but did not explain how he could cover all the expenses with just pay for his medical work.
Jan conceded that his needs may increase as his children grow and so is calling on the government to allocate funds for the food, education, and healthcare of his family - a request that is unlikely to be fulfilled.
But Jan has faith. If the government does not listen, he said, he trusts in God to provide.
Pakistan has the highest birth rate in South Asia - around three children per woman according to World Bank and government figures.
Jan put his fertility down to daily doses of fresh and dry fruits, milk and meat; as well as reciting the Holy Qur’an and praying five times a day.
His marriages were all arranged by his parents. “I married the first one...when I was 26 years old, and the next year wedded the other two within a gap of five months,” he said.
His next wedding, however, could be arranged via Facebook: since his story aired in Pakistani media, he says, he has had a slew of marriage offers via the social network.
A large poster on the wall at Jan’s house carries the symbol he used when he ran for provincial office in 2013: a double bed, which, he said, “denotes special pleasure and meaning in my life.”
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