Nurses ‘poisoning’: Christians call for inquiry

Published: August 1, 2012

PHOTO: EXPRESS/IRFAN ALI

KARACHI: Christian leaders have called for an impartial inquiry into the alleged poisoning of nine nurses at a government-run hospital.

Nine Christian trainee nurses at the Civil Hospital Karachi fell ill Sunday night allegedly after drinking poisoned tea prepared at their hostel. They were claimed to have been deliberately poisoned because of their faith.

Parliamentarian Saleem Khokhar, while speaking to The Express Tribune, called on the government and the police to launch a joint investigation to find out the actual cause of poisoning. While rumours initially floated that the poisoning took place as the nurses were drinking tea when their Muslim colleagues were fasting, Khokhar ruled that out, saying that the incident took place late night when everyone had broken their fast.

Condemning the incident, Christian leader Michael Javed went a step ahead and asked for a judicial investigation.

Claiming that the society has become extremely intolerant and was not allowing the minorities to live in peace, the former MPA requested the chief justice to take suo motu notice of the incident. “The government has turned a blind eye to the persecution of minorities; our girls are being [forcibly] converted and our churches are being attacked,” he lamented. Javed said that it was unfortunate if the nurses were really poisoned because the religious minorities also respect the Muslim faith and refrain from drinks and food in front of them. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s Abdul Hai also expressed concern over the incident. “A large number of nurses are Christians and are [already] subjected to ill-treatment and prejudice,” he added.

Lambasting the incident, the Christian community members also organised a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday.

William Sadiq, the coordinator of a welfare organisation working for minority women, was suspicious of the hospital administration and alleged that they were hiding the real matter. She suspected some other girls in the hostel may have poisoned the students over some rivalry.  “It could even be religious targeting,” said Sadiq. The Christian leaders also shouted slogans outside the Karachi Press Club against the hospital’s administration and the rising religious intolerance.

The Civil hospital medical superintendent, Prof Saeed Quraishy, ruled out the involvement of anyone from the hostel, however. “They made the tea themselves, how can there be someone else involved,” he said.

He added that the hospital has registered a case at the Eidgah Police Station and tea samples have been sent to the Aga Khan University Hospital for toxicology tests. He confirmed that except for one student who is still admitted to the hospital, all ‘poisoned’ nurses were discharged.

According to one of the affected nurses, a colleague had made the tea after 10pm and immediately after drinking the tea they fell ill. They were taken to the Civil hospital’s emergency and sent back after treatment. But the students developed complications in the morning and had to be taken to the hospital again.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2012.

Correction: In an earlier version of the article, the word ‘tea’ was mistakenly written as ‘liquor’ at one instance. The error is regretted.

Reader Comments (44)

  • Trojan
    Aug 1, 2012 - 12:51AM

    Pakistani Muslims. Crying for sufferings of Burmese Muslim minority, yet killing and poisoning their own Christian minority.

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  • Kamia Shaikh
    Aug 1, 2012 - 1:46AM

    Why dont Pakistan make it a law that everyone Muslims and Non Muslims should not eat or drink in public and not disrespect the majority. Christians and Hindus should avoid eating or drinking in publicj during Ramzan, as Pakistan is an Islamic republic

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  • hypocrite
    Aug 1, 2012 - 3:32AM

    correct the story..

    “According to one of the affected nurses, a colleague had made the tea after 10pm and immediately after drinking the liquor they fell ill. “

    in first line it says tea and in second line the story reads liqour.

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  • Mard-e-Haq
    Aug 1, 2012 - 5:25AM

    Is the JuD seeking justice in this case as well or are minorities (including Shias) regarded just as Kuffar?

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  • Farhan
    Aug 1, 2012 - 6:39AM

    @Kamia Shaikh:

    Did you even read that article? There is already a law for not eating in public but if you read the article it states that they were in there hostel not in public!

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  • Jag Nathan
    Aug 1, 2012 - 6:45AM

    Kamia Shaikh, Hindus should also pass a law in India that forbids Muslim men from wearing the skull cap, Muslim women from wearing the Hijab in public and Muslims from celebrating any of their festivals as it offends us Hindus. After all we are the majority and therefore using your logic these ideas should go down well with Muslims. After all, we are doing to them whatever Pakistan does to Hindus and Christians and they should not have to complain.

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  • Aug 1, 2012 - 7:56AM

    The Minorities will definitely wiped out in Pakistan in a few years. Just look at the trend. 20% non-Muslim population at the partition, now its less than 3%.

    3% is supposed to be minuscule, nil, nada, but the people of Pakistan do not think so.

    What will happen after they disappear? The same thing that Martin Niemoller puts it so wonderfully well: When everyone you hate or don’t care about is gone, you are next.

    We are already seeing that happening with the targeting of Shias.

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  • Liberal
    Aug 1, 2012 - 9:10AM

    Tea was not made by these girls and it was served by the peon. Some one from inside the hospital was involved for sure.

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  • S Mansoor
    Aug 1, 2012 - 10:05AM

    How tragic! I sincerely hope the ladies are all feeling better by now.

    It may have been better to wait for the toxicology reports before launching into divisive conspiracy theories (that too at a national newspaper level) however attractive they may appear, or linking this to all other (often very valid) complaints about broader discrimination. What if It is simply a case of the milk (for example) being spoilt?

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  • Noble Tufail
    Aug 1, 2012 - 11:58AM

    Felt a shudder to witness the magnitutude of hate/revenge.

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  • Noble Tufail
    Aug 1, 2012 - 12:15PM

    Yes we must wait for enquiry into the incident. It may and may not have been a deliberate poisning. (thanks S Mansoor)

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  • xyz
    Aug 1, 2012 - 1:20PM

    Everyone is jumping to conclusions. Yes, minorities are persecuted in Pakistan, but this could just be some sort of accidental food poisoning for all we know.

    @Kamia Shaikh: What are you saying?? Why do we need such a law? Is it so that we can make it ok to target people who don’t obey the law?

    Please try to be tolerant. It does not hurt me when people (muslim or non-muslim) eat in front of me while I am fasting. People are just looking for excuses to be offended these days so that they can complain of disrespect or blasphemy and then start banning this and that and to justify the targeting of minorities.

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  • Musalmanistan
    Aug 1, 2012 - 1:52PM

    Why not make it mandatory for even non-muslims to fast during the holy month of ramadan?

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  • Jamshed Gill
    Aug 1, 2012 - 2:54PM

    The question is also that how many Muslims fast? I know most just pretend to be fasting; if this is the case then why so cruelty we show?

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  • Afzaal Khan
    Aug 1, 2012 - 3:18PM

    From the report nurses said a collegue made the tea, So if it turned out to be simple case of food poisoning should a case be registered against Michael Javed and co For falsely implicating ppl and fanning secretarian violence?

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  • Khurram
    Aug 1, 2012 - 3:23PM

    @Kamia Shaikh:

    First of all kamia those nurses were not Public place, Secondly why should we fast in Ramadan?? Why government does not make a cafeteria for eating in ramadan?? so that the Muslims may know that’s it is a eating place and they should not come over their……and also must not see over their.

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  • Khurram
    Aug 1, 2012 - 3:24PM

    @Musalmanistan:

    Will you also fast in our Fasting season???? By the way we fast for 24 hours. R u ready?
    hahhahahhaha

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  • Toba Alu
    Aug 1, 2012 - 3:47PM

    @Musalmanistan:

    Very good idea, but then under one condition that all Muslims pay a heavy tax (25%) for fasting as they imposed on non-Muslims when they spread Islam and that all non-Muslims who fast are exempted of all taxes and those non-Muslims that do not pay tax have a free dinner every evening after the Eid. :-)

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  • AIN
    Aug 1, 2012 - 4:02PM

    Pakistan is moving towards the totaly failed state..I just hope that pakistan remains on the glob as it is after 20 years of so unjustice towards the mankind..

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  • ME_
    Aug 1, 2012 - 4:03PM

    @Kamia Shaikh: Your logic is totally skewed, infested with intolerance,hate and void of humanity. If everyone start following your “Majority has the right to exterminate ” Philosophy and then nothing will be left of Muslims in south Asia, With combined population of China and India of about 3 Billion if they also follow your sick intolerant fascist ideology then I am afraid you have to change your name from Kamia shaikh to Jang-ramchand or something.

    Please, do ponder before you vomit your hateful bile as every Human (Muslim or non Muslim) has the right to live their lives according to their own will. Who are you to judge others and who have given you the authority to spread such hate. People like you are sick and needs mental treatment.

    I hope you got it.

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  • Mohammad Akram Virk
    Aug 1, 2012 - 4:42PM

    How many judges are their to give a verdict on a fabricated case which has not been investigated. What a childish behavior? Let authorities check and find the truth then pass your verdicts.This kind of childish behavior will play a major role in creating hatred. There is nothing against any christian in this story. It can happen because of bad milk also.

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  • Toba Alu
    Aug 1, 2012 - 5:32PM

    @ME_:

    Clearly spoken, unfortunately my more modest reply to the same Kamia Sick did not pass the editorial board. :-)

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  • Singh
    Aug 1, 2012 - 7:20PM

    @Kamia Shaikh:
    By your logic why every Muslim asking for equal right in non Muslim country.
    Why not all Muslim should migrate to Islamic country & expels non Muslim to other country so there is conflict of interest.
    Upbringing in Pakistan is pathetic.

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  • Liberal
    Aug 1, 2012 - 7:32PM

    @ Kamia Shaikh If this is so pure Islamic Republic of Pakistan then why do you guys migrate to infidel (kaafir) countries. You are one of the illegitimate leftovers of Zia ideology.

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  • Insaaf
    Aug 1, 2012 - 10:24PM

    Mr. Mr. Musalmanistan and Ms. Kamia Shaikh why don’t you live people from other religions freely and why you guys are putting a lot of restrictions on them. What if you guys go to some non- muslim countries and they do the same treatment with you then what will you say at that point. I hope you can understand, May God give you wisdom and tolerance for other religion.
    With due respect @ Mr. Mohammad Akram Virk by drinking a bad milk they should not be in” ICU” in critical condition and if you are talking about the investigations then you should better know that how successful are the investigation procedures in your country? And even you guys are not giving us the right to raise the voice for our rights, discrimination and injustice against us? How sad!!!!Recommend

  • Insaaf
    Aug 1, 2012 - 10:40PM

    Mr. Muslamanistan and Kamia Shaikh why you guys are so cruel, Doesn’t your religion teaches you for peace, harmony and tolerance? If yes then please practice this…..
    How about you go to non- Muslim countries like America or UK where you guys are crazy to go and ready to do anything to go to these countries what if they put any restriction on you so that you cannot practice your religion or if they force you to practice their religion customs then what? May God give you wisdom and tolerance Amen!!!! Recommend

  • Insaaf
    Aug 1, 2012 - 10:46PM

    With due respect Mr.Mohammad Akram Virk if it was just a bad milk then why this happened to only Christian nurses why not to any muslim nurse of any other staff since it was after Ifftari. Secondly if it was just a bad milk then they should not be in “ICU” in critical condition.
    Thirdy you mentioned that we should wait for the investigations and then give any comments. Wow now you guys are not even giving us the right to raise any voice for any injustice against us.
    And last you know how investigations are done in our country……..

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  • Insaaf
    Aug 1, 2012 - 11:11PM

    With due respect @ Mr. Mohammad Akram Virk by drinking a bad milk they should not be in” ICU” in critical condition and if you are talking about the investigations then you should better know that how successful are the investigation procedures in your country? And even you guys are not giving us the right to raise the voice for our rights, discrimination and injustice against us? How sad!!!!

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  • dv sikka
    Aug 1, 2012 - 11:13PM

    It is simply an issue of might is right.Recommend

  • Davos
    Aug 2, 2012 - 1:07AM

    @Kamia Shaikh:
    This is not a matter of disrespect, how on earth? why do you fast in relative terms. fasting of the Ramadan should be a Muslims business. when I fast as a christian, I don’t care whether my sister or brothers are also fasting or not. because I am not fasting for them. I am fasting for the good of my soul. that is all. should Christians living wherever on the earth be worried about Muslims fasting? why? what kind of logic is it?

    Please, Fast for your soul!

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  • Mohammad Akram Virk
    Aug 2, 2012 - 2:17AM

    @Insaaf:
    Go a head shout against all muslims and say all bad things you can think off. I cannot stop you. But jumping to the conclusion without sold proof is foolishness. What is proof that this act was done by a Muslim nurse. It may have been done by one of the christian nurses. Were you watching the act yourself? Can you become a witness in the court. This country belongs to all of us. Muslim, christian, hindu….. all have to live by respecting each other.

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  • Mr X from Bombay
    Aug 2, 2012 - 4:01AM

    @Kamia Shaikh: Why would Indian and Christians avoid drinking and eating ? Is your faith too weak that it cannot even tolerate someone eating or drinking infront of them ? It is this intolerance that muslims are collectively hated across the globe. World do have problem with muslims not Islam. I hope you are educated enough to understand the meaning of that sentence.

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  • Jamshed Gill
    Aug 2, 2012 - 9:51AM

    @Mohammad Akram Virk:This country belongs to all of us. Muslim, christian, hindu….. all have to live by respecting each other.
    Your attitude well supports your comment.

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  • f rizvi
    Aug 2, 2012 - 1:58PM

    @Kamia Shaikh:

    Excuse me kamia, just because pakistan is sadly an islamic state does not mean that we subject the other minorities living here to a life that only just suits the muslim majority. WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE TO YOUR FAST IF SOMEONE EATS OR DRINKS IN FRONT OF YOU! I CEASE TO UNDERSTAND. Frankly spare your energy to fast if you can not bear to look at someone eat or drink in front of you, i’m sure your God would also agree.

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  • cj
    Aug 2, 2012 - 3:06PM

    Feasting or fasting ??? i have seen most muslims gain more weight after ramzan….

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  • Ceasar
    Aug 2, 2012 - 5:52PM

    I see how some pakistani muslims have defended the process of thorough investigations and suggested not to jump to conclusions but it is these same muslims who will jump to conclusions when a muslim claims that a non-muslim has blasphemed against islam or mohammed. Then out the window goes the process of thorough investigation and the proof required to prove whether the blasphemy claim is true or false. It’s one rule for them and different rule for others. Living in the west muslims tend to be able to fast while everyone eats or drinks. That is the true meaning of fasting. To be able to fast with temptations around you. That is the challenge of your devotion to your religion. I hope these muslims can understand what it means to follow their religion, which I don’t think they do. They can fool themselves into thinking that they do but they are not fooling the world.

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  • Ray
    Aug 2, 2012 - 10:33PM

    @Kamia Shaikh: I’m sorry, but that has to be one of the silliest ideas one could come up with. Everyone should have the right to be able to eat or drink in public regardless of who the majority is. Pakistan needs to protect religious liberties for everyone and prosecute those who persecute others because of their religion.

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  • fdr
    Aug 3, 2012 - 5:19AM

    law againt eating in public is a vestige of zia era and should be burned along with all his laws

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  • Insaaf
    Aug 3, 2012 - 10:29PM

    Mr. Mohammad Akaram Virk just to give you an example that in 2009 some of extremist muslim burn the whole village and also 9 burn live people and still our Govt. has not captured any person under this case. Check this link hope fully it will melt your heart little bit.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbgKZP_UqVc&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjjfUmTGob4&oref=http%3A%2F
    %2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fresults%3Fsearchquery%3Dgojra%2Bincident%26oq%3Dgojra%2Bincident%26gsl%3Dyoutube.3…2611.12932.0.13110.22.18.4.0.0.0.183.1892.9j9.18.0…0.0…1ac.KR5B31R6lig&has_verified=1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXhmWyNZDnk&feature=related

    If you need to know more stories like this let me know and I will ask you if you can answer that if any investigation has been done or any person involved in this incident has been captured by police?

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  • kamran
    Aug 5, 2012 - 9:02PM

    i feel really very sad on hearing this bad new that the ladies have been given the poison in the tea it is not good for our society norms those had been suffering so badly where this no existing of the word like patient and tolerances. the christian and other minorities of the Pakistan feel that they are indiscriminate in this country and now this incident happen. as christian i really feel bad and my heart is broken . may God save this nation

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  • Peace
    Aug 6, 2012 - 12:33PM

    i’m heart broken on this cruel act. At the same time i’m asking to our so called free media that why you are silent? if Meera breaks her engagement or if Veena do some shameful modeling you give it as BREAKING NEWS but none of you bothered to even give the minority 1-2 minutes coverage??? Why Pakistan has ‘White’ in its Flag if people don’t know its meaning??? Why you raise voice on French Law or UK’s driving Laws in which Hijab is ban or you think that Europe is killing your identity. What you are doing here with Non-Muslims??? No doubt that ALL HUMANS (Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikh, Buddists etc.) HAS RIGHT TO LIVE ACCORDING TO THEIR WILL REGARDLESS OF THEIR COLOR, RELIGION OR RACE. (Note; I’m not appreciating Europe just referring it to quote our majority’s behavior)
    I have many Muslim friends/ neighbors and none of them is like Respected Kamia Sheikh or Mr. Virk. They all are very much “human” and respect Christianity as well. We enjoy all festivals together, like we eat Mithai on Eid and Cakes on Christmas, But kisi ka Roza Ms. Kamia ki tarha Kacha nai hai. They fast to purify their souls not to show people.
    Please ‘Jeeo aur Jeenay doo’. What people are doing in Quetta killing Shias, they are also Muslims but why you Majority are killing them. Ahhh the simplest answer of any problem “Ye sub Amrika karwa raha hai” shame on us we are Pakistanis the greatest nation. I miss the Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam when my Great grandfather decided to leave Indian :-( At that time we had Leader but No Land. Please God give us Our Quaid-e-Azam again cuz Now we have Land but No Leader :-(
    Note: we Christians are praying in Churches for peace in Burma and we do pray for peace in world on regular basis not to show anyone. If you think that we don’t care of this brutal act then you are wrong we love humanity and human beings. MAY GOD GIVE US WISDOM AND TOLERANCE TO LOVE HUMANS.

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  • Eve
    Aug 8, 2012 - 5:50PM

    Shame shame and shame on those muslims who call this heartbroken sin an “ACCIDENT”… u ppl have no shame in saying tht …. big black spot on humanity… do u have any idea what does that these young ladies are not dead they r mudered by you shameful ppl …buh m SORRY to tell you we all as Christians dont believe in DEATH …they might are not with us buh they r with true God and they have begin the journey of EVERLASTING life …
    u guys are fool … and will always be ..no matter what …u ppl not gona change…just one word for ur so called comments “SHAME”

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  • sultan rahi
    Aug 8, 2012 - 10:52PM

    May be its an accident, but if done intentionally then it means k some pakistani muslims have gone below minimum human standards, shame on such people, and this mentality will only cause their own downfall and destruction.

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  • S Mansoor
    Aug 19, 2012 - 3:18AM

    Can ET do a follow up for this please? I’m sure the AKU test reports are available by now. Did they discover ‘poison’ or did it turn out to be a simple case of ‘spoilt milk’ used in the tea?

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