Youhanabad lynching case Convict’s death leaves family under trial
LAHORE: A Christian inmate’s death in Kot Lakhpat Jail has sparked controversy after a medical board in its initial postmortem report indicates “signs of tuberculosis” he is suspected to have contracted during his stay in the prison.
The family of Anderyas Ghulam had complained about subhuman conditions the under-trials have been kept in and claimed that he might have contracted TB during his stay there.
In order to get a clear picture of what led to his death, the medical board dispatched his organs to histopathology and other laboratories.
Anderyas Ghulam, the father of three, was among the 45 Christians facing trial under anti-terrorism charges in the Youhanabad lynching case. A mob had burnt two Muslim men alive in response to a church suicide bomb attacks in March 2015.
Anderyas, according to his family, contracted infection in the jail during his more than one-year stay and eventually died. During the last few months, he was diagnosed a patient of tuberculosis and the disease advanced steadily as the hospital in Kot Lakhpat Jail was not properly staffed, his wife alleged.
A source told Dawn that the 45 Christians had been kept in a barrack which had a capacity to hardly manage 30 inmates. He said the chances of infection due to insanitary conditions were high and the inmates were vulnerable to diseases. Repeated requests to the authorities to address the complaints fell on deaf ears, he added.
Ghulam’s wife during her visits to the jail had raised the issues many times besides the allegation that he had been served low-quality food, said the source who added that the woman also took up the issue of improper treatment with the jail authorities but to no avail.
Meanwhile, a senior doctor at the Mian Munshi Hospital shared contents of the report with Dawn. “Normally there are three causes of death in such cases; they are trauma, poisoning/overdose and illness. In Anderyas case, the initial postmortem report shows indication of severe lungs infection that may be the main cause of his death,” he said.
Usually, he said, the postmortem of prisoners was carried out by the doctors of Jinnah Hospital but in this case, the procedure was carried out by a medical board of Mian Munshi Hospital.
OVERVIEW: Most jails in Pakistan face a number of issues especially overcrowding. A source said that by the end of 2016, there were 84,315 prisoners in Pakistan. The jails in Punjab had 49,603 prisoners against a capacity of 23,617, Sindh had 20,308 against capacity of 12,245 and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had 11,200 against the capacity of 7,547, he said.
Speaking on the issue, Punjab Prisons Inspector General Farooq Nazir denies the capacity and sanitation issues. He claims that Anderyas had complained of abdominal pain for which he was examined by a medical officer in the jail on July 24. Later, blood samples were sent to the Jinnah Hospital and he was admitted to the TB ward for treatment and also provided medicine.
On Aug 11, he said, the inmate was again taken to Jinnah Hospital where doctors after initial treatment sent him back to the jail. His condition worsened again on Aug 14 and he died on way to hospital, said the officer.
He said an inquiry had been conducted by Model Town Judicial Magistrate Waseem Waris. He said the postmortem report is awaited.