For Aleem Azad, his wife and three children, the ice cream and biscuits they shared with a stranger after dinner on Wednesday could have been their last.
After dessert, the family fell unconscious. They were found the next day by their neighbours who took them to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC).
Doctors announced that the family had been poisoned. So far no one knows who did it or why.
As Azad and his wife Shamim were under observation, Shamim’s sister Ruby claimed that the couple had spoken to her before the incident. “Azad had met a man on the street who started conversation by asking for water and manipulated my brother-in-law into bringing him home,” she said. “Once they got home, the man started to sympathise with the family and said that he could help solve all their problems including the financial ones.” She added that he made them read a special prayer and gave them biscuits after which the family fainted.
Talking to The Express Tribune, JPMC MLO Dr Kaleem Shaikh said that the family had refused to lodge a case and had told him that the visitor Ruby was talking about was actually an old colleague. He had brought biscuits and ice cream for the family.
According to the police, Azad is a carpenter who lives in Upper Gizri near Khayaban-e-Tanzeem ground and claimed that he did not have any enemies. Out of his five children, the eldest son nine-year-old Hamza did not eat anything. He recorded his statement with the police in which he claimed that a man with a beard ordered them to eat the biscuits in three turns.
Further details could not be verified as Azad and his wife were still unconscious in JPMC’s Medical Ward 5.
The stomachs of the Azad family were flushed after which Azad and Shamim were taken to ward 5 and the children, who were below the age of 12, were taken to the National Institute of Child Health (NICH).
Dr Muhammad Inam, the doctor on duty in ward 5, said that both Azad and Shamim were out of danger and would be discharged soon. He added that they were heavily drugged but could not comment any further because he did not have the toxicology report. “It looks like medicinal sedatives could have been used,” he said. “The toxicology report takes 24 hours to find what drug was used.”
A doctor at the NICH’s Emergency Room said that three children were now out of danger but two-year-old Muneeza was not. He added that the children were being kept under observation and would be discharged soon.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2012.