The hangover continues: Bizarre twists and turns follow Sharjeel’s liquor saga

Published: September 6, 2018
CJP had made a surprise visit to three hospitals to check on political prisoners, including Sharjeel Memon, pictured here. PHOTO: EXPRESS

CJP had made a surprise visit to three hospitals to check on political prisoners, including Sharjeel Memon, pictured here. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: A day after a video emerged featuring the provincial chemical examiner using his senses of taste and smell to check for alcohol, the Sindh government suspended the official for disclosing ‘confidential information’.

Pakistan Peoples Party leader and adviser to the chief minister on information, law, archives and anti-corruption Barrister Murtaza Wahab said that the Chemical Examiner to the Sindh government, Dr Zahid Hasan Ansari, had been suspended for “breaching the law by disclosing the video of chemical examination and making it viral on social media and other platforms”.

Sindh’s chemists defy science, use senses to detect alcohol

The footage in question was captured with a mobile phone by a laboratory staff member and shows Dr Ansari opening the bottles in Services Hospital and pouring their contents on his palm. The investigation officer of the case and other staff are also seen present.

The examiner smelled and tasted the contents and then asked the IO and other staff to do the same. Later, it was announced in a loud voice that the bottles contained honey and oil. This was all apparently how the chemical examination was carried out.

IG suspends jail officials

Hours later, Inspector-General of Jail Affairs Yaqoob Minhas also seemed to jolt into action and suspended the two jail officials deployed outside Sharjeel Memon’s room in Ziauddin Hospital.

On Wednesday, Minhas suspended both the sub-jail in charges, Ahmed Shajra and Mujahid Khan. The latter is also the complainant in the FIR registered against Memon and his three servants. His name was also added to the accused in the FIR on Tuesday.

The suspensions came five days after two or three liquor bottles were found during a surprise visit of Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar to Ziauddin Hospital where Memon, who has been arrested in a corruption case, had been shifted from jail for medical treatment.

Controversies abound

Controversy has surrounded the case from the get-go as one of Memon’s servants, at the time of his arrest, had claimed that one of the bottles contained honey, while the other contained oil. His claims, though corroborated by the now equally contentious chemical tests on the bottle’s contents, did not seem to go well with other authorities including the CJP, who remarked on Tuesday that “it seems as though honey and oil were recovered from the bottles after my visit”.

Evidence from Sharjeel’s sub-jail destroyed: Sindh Police

The Sindh chief secretary, who was present at the Supreme Court on Tuesday in connection with another suo motu case, also admitted that Memon’s blood samples seemed to be tampered as they did not show any sign of alcohol consumption.

The medical test results he was referring to were released by an Aga Khan University Hospital laboratory which showed that the specimen contained no alcohol. The AKUH, for its part, later clarified that, “The AKUH did not draw the blood sample from the patient. It is therefore not possible for AKUH to confirm whether same was drawn from Mr. Memon or when it was drawn”.

The same day, South Zone DIG Javed Alam Odho had lamented that all evidence recovered from the sub-jail had been destroyed. Odho was speaking on the basis of CCTV footage which showed that after the CJP left the hospital, a person took bags containing crucial evidence from the room and returned with them after one and a half hours. The CCTV footage showed that these bags were taken out of the room at least thrice.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2018.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • Adil Khan
    Sep 8, 2018 - 3:18PM

    Much ado about nothing much. How does this effect lives of ordinary Pakistanis, or even their sensibilities – apart from perhaps Sharjeel Memon’s. This honey, oil or ethanol incidents are not national news, not while Pakistan is running out of water and the coffers are empty. Let’s get our priorities right. In the rest of the civilized world, someone under arrest drinking wine or whisky is dealt with according to the law. It doesn’t make for national news, especially if that nation has unspeakable dilemmas to deal with in the first place. Recommend

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