14 October 2022
By Rehan Piracha
After the shocking discovery of a number of abandoned dead bodies on the rooftop of the Nishtar Hospital in Multan, a health department team will be organizing a probe into the case. The bodies were found on the rooftop of the Anatomy Department building of the hospital.
The dead bodies caused public fright especially after the news caught fire on social media and after Tariq Zaman Gujjar, Advisor to Punjab Chief Minister stumbled upon them during his visit to the hospital. Reportedly patients had complained about rotting corpses lying openly on the building rooftop.
The videos recording the advisor’s visit during which the human remains were found lying under the open sky, invited outrage among the citizens. Some social media accounts claimed that there were around 500 bodies found abandoned at the hospital.
Anatomy dept head debunks claims of 500 dead bodies
Refuting the claims made on social media, Mariam Ashraf, head of the Anatomy department, said there was no truth to the allegation of there being 500 abandoned dead bodies.
“Every dead body is accounted for and we have shared the record with relevant authorities,” she said in her video message. According to the departmental sources, there were four dead bodies on the rooftop at the time of the CM advisor’s visit.
Gujjar who had stumbled across several putrefied bodies on the rooftop of the dead house, ordered the cremation of the abandoned bodies and directed the health authorities to take action against the employees involved in the matter.
Additional Chief Secretary retired Captain Saqib Zafar also directed Specialised Healthcare Secretary Muzamil Bashir to look into the incident. He also constituted a six-member team to investigate the matter. Bashir is the convener of the committee, while members include Prof. Dr Masood Rauf Haraj of the Nishtar Medical University, Assistant Professor Anatomy Dr Shafiqullah Chaudhry, Senior Medical Officer Dr Muhammad Arfan Arshad and one representative each from the deputy commissioner and the city police officer of Multan. The committee will submit its report within three days.
On the other hand, acting Vice-Chancellor Nishtar Medical University Professor Dr. Mahnaz Khakwani has established a three-member inquiry committee, which includes Professor Dr Abbas Naqvi, Dr Ghulam Mustafa and Dr Tariq Pirzada.
According to the spokesman of Nishtar Medical University, the committee will conduct an investigation regarding the case. In a letter to the City Police Officer, Multan, the university administration had requested the burial of the abandoned bodies.
Dr Mariam Ashraf, the head of the anatomy department, had also written to the vice-chancellor that the dead bodies were brought for post-mortem by the police. She said the abandoned corpses were sometimes impossible to be kept in the freezer, adding that the cadavers sometimes could not even be used for teaching purposes. According to her, the corpses are placed on the roof to complete the process of putrefaction. After the process is completed, the bones of the dead body are used to teach the students, she added.
Procedures violated in handling corpses: Dr Javed Akram
Speaking to Voicepk.net, Dr Javed Akram, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Health Sciences, said that abandoned and unidentified dead bodies were the property of the police department.
“The police department hands over such dead bodies to hospitals for autopsies and sometimes some of these cadavers are given to medical colleges for teaching purposes,” he explained. The dead bodies are handed over to medical colleges under standard operating procedures, he added. In his view, the Anatomy department had violated set procedures by keeping dead bodies on the rooftops. “The Nishtar Medical University needs to review procedures in view of this incident,” he added.
Mohsin Dawar calls for a thorough probe
However, social media users have expressed their grief and anger after the videos went viral saying that throwing human bodies in the open was an ‘insult to humanity. On the other hand, there were also claims that the dead bodies could also belong to missing persons from Balochistan.
In a tweet, Mohsin Dawar, a member of the National Assembly from Waziristan, said the discovery of dead bodies is shocking and disturbing. “The discovery of decaying dead bodies dumped on the roof of Nishtar Hospital is shocking and disturbing. Where did these dead bodies come from? Who are they? How long were they there for? The matter should be investigated and the hospital administration must be held to account,” he said in his tweet.