Nervous doctors performed on Wednesday a crucial autopsy on a Christian blasphemy convict who died a day earlier. While initial assessments suggest, much to the jail’s relief, that he did indeed die of a heart attack, investigators cautioned that the histopathology reports would take up to four days.
“Nothing can be conclusively said about the cause of death,” said Sindh Police Surgeon Dr Hamid Padhiyar while talking to The Express Tribune. “Samples from the kidneys, heart and other organs have been sent to a laboratory and a chemical examination will finally confirm the cause of death.”
Fifty-five-year-old Qamar David was serving a life sentence in two blasphemy cases at the Raheem Ward in Central Jail, Karachi. He was kept with three other Christian inmates, who were sent to prison on charges of murder and kidnapping for ransom. “We were saying that he died of a heart attack but no one trusted us,” central jail superintendent Imdad Mirza told The Express Tribune. “How could he have been threatened as he was kept with inmates from the same community?”
David had been in prison for a long time and if he was threatened, as his wife has claimed, then the jailers should have been informed, said the superintendent. Prison officials have questioned his fellow inmates and found all of them innocent.
The postmortem was carried out at noon at Civil Hospital, Karachi. Judicial Magistrate 9 East Zakaullah Abro and Padhiyar supervised the legal formalities. Senior Medico-Legal Officer Dr Abdul Haq, MLO Dr Qarar Abbasi, superintendent Mirza and Qamar David’s son Aqeel were present.
The police surgeon said that the lab would be able to tell if he was poisoned. “Physically, no mark of torture was found on his body which is why it seems that he died of a heart attack,” said Padhiyar.
David was from outside Lahore but only his son arrived as the rest of the family was too scared. “We are feeling unsecure,” said Aqeel Qamar. “That is why my mother and other family members did not come to Karachi.” He maintained that it was confirmed that his father was killed but they were waiting for the medical reports.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2011.