Jailed bigwigs enjoy official ‘hospitality’ at Lady Reading Hospital

Most land up at facility with medical issues soon after their bail is rejected

Umer Farooq September 04, 2015
Lady Reading Hospital. PHOTO: EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: The who’s who of corruption suspects spend less time in jail and more at Lady Reading Hospital’s medico-legal ward due to one medical complication or another. 

Usually, the health of politicians or government officials accused of corruption starts to deteriorate soon after their bail is rejected by a court.

Once at the government hospital, they are easily able to meet their near and dear ones. Those suffering more than others, or yielding more influence, manage to persuade prison and medical authorities to shift them to the elaborately furnished Bolton Block.

The facility is currently housing former chief executive Peshawar Electric Supply Company Parvez Akhtar Shah who was arrested by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on charges of accumulating assets beyond  known sources of income. At that time, Shah argued he is a heart patient and should not be handed over to the FIA team probing the case. However, it was a gastro problem and nothing cardio-related that placed him in Bolton Block’s lap of luxury.

Besides Shah, former minister for mines and mineral development Ziaullah Afridi was also taken to LRH from jail after he complained of a throat infection.

The minister was arrested by the Ehtesab Commission on charges of illegal mining. Earlier this week, his interim bail was rejected by the Peshawar High Court.

Shah has been admitted to the gastro ward, while Afridi’s delicate thorax is being treated at the ENT ward.

“Most inmates don’t stay in prison for even a single night and raise a hue and cry to be shifted to the hospital,” a prison official tells The Express Tribune, requesting anonymity. He states that authorities are aware of the fact that the inmates are feigning illnesses, but cannot refuse these influential prisoners. “Sometimes medics are forced into advising that the prisoner be shifted to a hospital outside the prison.”

When asked about deficiencies at prison hospital, the jail official claims there are none. “The hospital is equipped with facilities and inmates are transferred to other facilities only for major problems,” he added. “Since LRH is the nearest facility, most land up there.”

Even LRH officials share a similar view, saying most of the influential inmates are acting, whereas other prisoners have genuine reason to be at the hospital. Former inspector general Malik Naveed is another notable — if not notorious — figure who stayed at the facility for over a year.

Officials say regardless of the severity of the cases, inmates cannot be denied their right to care at a hospital.

“When someone, whether genuinely or not, claims to be in severe pain, he or she cannot be refused. If the pain is genuine and something happens, the officials concerned will be blamed and will have to face the consequences,” a health official says.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2015.


nk | 7 years ago | Reply It is their "right" to medical care? what about the millions of others who they deprive of all kinds of basic necessities directly and indirectly? directly we suffer from electricity shortages for example because of the corruption in those departments. indirectly they deprive citizens of the money that was accrue to the state that should have been spent on citizens but instead ends up in foreign bank accounts. No more rights for these big wigs. there is a complete decay of the social fabric in this country. 20-30 years ago if you were labeled as corrupt people would stay miles away from you because of the stigma attached to corruption. Now these same bigwigs get VIP treatment at the hospital because people know they are corrupt and influential and thus if they can get into these officials good books they can get future favours. there is no hope for this country unless we can fix ourselves. we blame our politicians, but we, the ordinary citizens are also the problem, because we dont realize the power we have collectively to fix the system by fixing ourselves.
shahid | 7 years ago | Reply Nobody is saying it is fraud, lies and malicious intent when a criminal is lying to be given benefits and privileges of a hospital instead of jail premises.. .; BUT, if a Pakistani civilian who is not a criminal like these crooks, needs a bed and doctors to attend to his illness, then this bed must, I repeat must be vacated for this Pakistani civilian..; These crooks should then be sent back to jail doctor supervisions and let the facility of the hospital be available to NOT Criminal and not Crooks Pakistanis;
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