KARACHI: A six-day-old girl that went missing from the emergency ward of the National Institute of Child Institute (NICH) on Monday evening has been recovered from Ibrahim Haidery after hectic efforts of the management and police. A woman has been detained while the investigation is underway.
Ibrahim Niazi, the father of the girl told The Express Tribune that his daughter was shifted from Lyari General Hospital to NICH on September 12 for treatment while his wife, Zeenat, was still admitted at Lyari General Hospital.
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On Monday, Niazi's mother who was the only female attendant at the NICH went out and on return found that the girl was missing. "She asked the staff if they had shifted her to somewhere but they did not respond her properly," Niazi said.
After a few hours, the staff informed Niazi and his family that the girl was mistakenly replaced by another girl. "The staff handed over our girl to another woman," he said. The administration after tracing the phone number mentioned in the record reached the house of Khamiso Lasi and asked his family to return the girl.
"It was a normal day till a few persons knocked at our door and shouted to return the 'stolen' girl from the hospital," narrated Fazal Lasi, the cousin of Khamiso. "Our families reacted over the attitude of the NICH officials. They came without informing area police."
When the girl from Lasi's home was brought to the hospital it was not the girl that went missing. "Our girl was born in August," Lasi said. "It was not our girl that was produced," said Niazi.
Saddar SHO Arshad Afridi said that Khamiso was detained as a suspect in the missing girl's case and an FIR was lodged against him on Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday afternoon, police recovered the girl from a home located in Ibrahim Haidery. "It was not Lasi or their relatives' home," Afridi confirmed. "The case was a bit complicated and we are trying to find if the girl was mistakenly replaced or that was a deliberate attempt," he added, saying a few persons have been detained and Khamiso will be released if found innocent.
The police official said that his team has traced the missing girl through closed-circuit cameras' footage.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Executive Director of the NICH said that it was a misunderstanding. "The girl has been recovered," he confirmed. He said that it happens in a hospital where thousands of patients are dealt with regularly. "But we are trying to prove why and how it happened," he added.
Niazi said that his family was happy that the girl was recovered safely. "It was a nightmare for all of us," he said. He appealed the hospital management to fix a proper system so that such incidents could be avoided in the future.
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"Our girl was born at Sindh government's hospital located in our area," Lasi said. "And the girl was never brought to the NICH before but I don't understand why we were dragged into the missing girl's case," Lasi said, adding that most of the family members were being investigated by the police officials even though they were not involved in the case.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2019.