It is perhaps too early to tell whether the bizarre extraction of spinal fluid from 15 women in Hafizabad and Gujranwala is part of a bigger, darker scandal affecting more people or not. The truth will come out sooner or later but it is certainly worth investigating and one cannot help but support Health Minister Saira Afzal Tarar’s decision to constitute a panel to probe the incident. It would also be fitting to check thoroughly the health condition of the five victims after spinal fluid was removed from their bodies by the chicanery of a five-member gang.
The panel has been set a three-day deadline to release a report on the illegal actions of the gang. Perhaps it will result in full disclosure from the suspects but if it does not the authorities are expected to find out if there were more victims and uncover the real purpose of collecting spinal fluid from the women. There have been other sinister motives suggested because the extraction took place after the victims were forced to undress.
Medical experts have discounted the possibility of the gang making bone marrow extractions although initially there were fears of them doing so. It turns out that it is much harder to remove bone marrow from anybody’s body than it is to extract spinal fluid — which is useful in detecting cancer and meningitis. Since a simple syringe is all that is needed to take out the spinal fluid as opposed to the more complex procedure to remove bone marrow, great care must be taken to determine the motive of those who buy spinal fluid. We could after all be on the trail of another big scandal — a scandal that could envelop large segments of the population. The fact that the fluid was taken under false pretences should leave us fully alert and prepared for the worst.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2018.