FAISALABAD: An epileptic died in Ghulam Muhammadabad area after allegedly being tortured by a witch doctor who had been called by the family to exorcise him.

The family, who live at Civil Quarters house no980, applied to the Ghulam Mohammadabad police for the registration of a murder case but on Friday withdrew the application.

Rana Asghar, the station house officer of the Ghulam Muhammadabad police station, said that Amir Qadri, brother of the deceased, withdrew his application saying that they wanted to consult a lawyer before moving ahead with the case.

Amir told The Express Tribune that he had to withdraw the application on family pressure.

Amir said that his uncle, Akbar, had brought Ghulam Mustafa, the witch doctor, a day before Eid after Asif had suffered from several attacks of epilepsy.

“My mother was concerned that if we pursue a murder case my uncle would get involved,” Amir said, adding that his uncle only wanted to help Asif and brought the pir so that his suffering could be reduced. Asif said he was not at home when the pir tried to exorcise his brother.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Akbar Qadri, the uncle of the deceased, said that Asif’s condition suddenly deteriorated on Tuesday, a day before Eid, and he had seizures. “My sister told me to bring someone to heal him,” he said, adding that he had known Baba Ghulam Mustaba, a resident of Chak no7 JB, for sometime so he brought him to examine his nephew.

Asif’s wife, Fouzia, said that the pir took her husband to a room at around 2:00am and tortured him with iron rods. She said that Asif lost consciousness when the pir started pulling out his nails. She said she shouted and tried to stop the pir but no one listened to her. Fouzia added that on seeing Asif faint and bleed, the pir told his uncle to take him to a hospital but he died on way. She said that the pir and his uncle buried the body after zuhr prayers in the absence of his brother.

Amir, Asif’s brother, said that he was told that the body was in a terrible condition and could not be kept for a longer period of time. “When I got to know about torture, I asked my uncle but he could not come up with a clear cut reply,” he said.

Javed Sagar Baba, Asif’s friend who gave bath to his body, said that torture marks were visible on the body, adding that he had bled through his nose and there were blood spots around that area. Baba said that when he asked the family about the cause of death he was told that Asif died after falling from the roof.

Ghulam Mustafa has gone into hiding after the incident.

Asif and Fouzia had been married for 11 years. They have two children – 10-year-old Mudassar and a girl.

When The Express Tribune tried to contact Fouzia on Saturday, the family refused to permit her to talk, saying that they had decided against pursuing a police case and did not want to talk to the media.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2010.