KARACHI: A medical student, Nimrah Baig, 21, who had received bullet injuries during an exchange of fire between the police and suspected robbers in North Karachi on Friday, succumbed to her injuries on Saturday. It is, however, yet to be ascertained if she was hit by a bullet fired from a weapon of police or by the robbers.
A final year student of Dow University of Health Sciences, Nimrah was passing in an auto-rickshaw at Anda Mor in North Karachi when she was hit by bullets during a shootout between police and robbers. She had received a bullet in her head and was first taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and then was later shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) on Friday night.
Nimrah was laid to rest in the afternoon at a graveyard in North Karachi after her funeral prayers at Jama Masjid Siddiq Akbar. Her funeral prayers were attended, besides family members, friends and neighbours, by the students of Dow Medical College.
According to police, two robbers, Riaz Malik and his accomplice, were fleeing after allegedly committing a robbery. A police team chased the suspects, upon which they opened fire at the police. In retaliatory firing, one of the robbers was shot and killed on the spot, while his accomplice was injured.
The dead body of Nimrah lay in the morgue for four hours due to the absence of the JPMC medico-legal officer (MLO) before being handed over to the family. The family claims that the MLO was called late night on Friday when the body was brought to the morgue but she refused to come to the hospital.
The MLO argued that the first medico-legal report was registered at Abbasi Shaheed, and so the post mortem should also be done there. The police officials, however, said that since Nimrah’s death occurred after she was shifted to JPMC, where her death certificate was also issued, the post mortem would be done there.
Nimrah’s maternal uncle, Muhammad Zaki Khan, and brother while talking to the media said that Nimrah was a final year student at Dow University and the eldest of two siblings. Nimrah’s father, Mirza Aijaz Baig, had also served in the police but he died in 2010. They said that they saw the news on television after which they called on her mobile phone, which was answered by an unknown person who asked them to reach Abbasi Shaheed immediately. When they reached there, Nimrah had been shifted to JPMC already.
Khan said that they were told by the doctors primarily that Nimrah had received a bullet in her head but there was only the mark of the bullet entering the head, which meant that the bullet hadn’t been taken out and was still in the head.
Khan also said that the MLO on duty at JPMC, Dr Zakia, was called more than once but she refused to come for the post mortem. He said that they had been wandering here and there trying to seek professional help but the hospital staff failed to cooperate. Dr Zakia however reached the hospital morgue and the post mortem started after four hours of wait.
Nimrah’s uncle, Khan, said that they had not been given accurate information about who fired the bullet. He said that the people present at the scene claim that they heard the police officials talking to each other about having made the mistake. He demanded an impartial and complete investigation of the incident.
Central SSP Arif Aslam Rao, talking to the media, said that an impartial investigation will be conducted to find out who fired the bullet that killed Nimrah and will be shared with the public. “We are waiting for the final post-mortem report and the forensic evidence from the crime scene, which will be examined along with the rounds collected from the scene”, he added.
He further said that the weapons recovered from the robbers and bullet shells were being sent to forensic analysis.
Meanwhile, the Karachi Police chief has constituted an investigation team to look into the incident. The team, headed by the Crime Investigation Agency Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) Arif Hanif, also includes Special Investigation Unit SSP Noman Siddiqi and Traffic East Zone SSP Dr Sameeullah Soomro as members. The investigation team will submit its report in three days after completing the investigations on all aspects of the incident; the robbery, firing by robbers and the police’s course of action.
The witnesses present at the scene claim that Nimrah was passing by the area in a rickshaw when she was struck by a bullet in the head. The bullet had fractured her skull due to which she suffered brain damage.
Dr Zakia told The Express Tribune that the bullet was not found anywhere in the body. Nimrah received the bullet on the right side of her head which penetrated 2.5cm deep inside the skull. The bullet seemed to have been fired from a small weapon, said Dr Zakia adding that the details can be confirmed after the post mortem reports are ready.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2019.