Karachi: Senior doctor gunned down in Lyari
KARACHI, Jan 20: A 55-year-old doctor and senior faculty member of the Lyari General Hospital was gunned down shortly after he left his workplace and headed home in his car on Thursday, police said.
Dr Imran Wasi became the latest victim of targeted killings that left nine health professionals dead since May last year, said the Pakistan Medical Association, announcing that doctors would boycott the out-patient departments of the Civil Hospital Karachi, Lyari General Hospital and Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre on Friday to lodge their protest against the murder.
The police said that Dr Wasi left the Lyari General Hospital after his duty hours in his chauffeur-driven car in the afternoon. As his car slowed down on a speed hump near Khaliq Juma Hall and Lyari town office, two armed men riding a motorcycle emerged from the left side of the car.
“The doctor was sitting on the back seat,” said Irshad Seharh, SSP Saddar Town. He said the pillion-rider fired a single shot at the doctor before the two sped away.
The firing forced the driver to slam on the brakes only to find the doctor in a pool of blood, the officer said. He added that the victim had suffered a gunshot wound in the head and died on the spot.
The SSP said that the attackers were not seen in the area before and after the incident and it seemed that they executed the job in a professional way.
The officials of the Eidgah police station later found a spent bullet casing of a 9mm pistol — a commonly used weapon in targeted killings across the city — at the crime-scene.
Area people said that at least two police vans were deputed near the town office, which is just 20 yards from the crime-scene, besides a couple of policemen who were deployed on security duty at a nearby liquor shop.
Dr Wasi, an ENT specialist and associated with the Lyari General Hospital for the past 15 years, was a resident of an apartment building in block 13-D of Gulshan-i-Iqbal.
Over the past 10 years, he also ran a private clinic, Shakeel Clinic, in Ranchhore Line, which was not very far from the crime-scene, the police said.
“According to facts gathered from the area people, he enjoyed a good reputation both in Lyari and Ranchhore Line,” said SSP Seharh of the Saddar Town.
The SSP said: “We don’t see the murder as part of the targeted killings of doctors, for our apprehension is that he was attacked on some personal grudge or motivation. But all aspects are under investigations and it will take time to arrive at any conclusion.”
The Eidgah police station later registered a case (FIR 29/2011) under Sections 302 (premeditated murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code against unidentified suspects on a complaint of the victim’s driver, Syed Mohammad Ali.
However, doctors said that the police by giving flimsy arguments such as personal enmity were covering up their failure of protecting doctors who were being targeted frequently.
“In 2010 alone, we lost some nine colleagues,” said Dr Idrees Adhi, the president of the Pakistan Medical Association’s Karachi chapter. He added: “Several meetings, sittings and planning with the authorities that returned assurances every time proved a bundle of lies.”
At a hurriedly-called meeting of the association, scores of doctors gathered at the PMA House on Thursday evening to condemn the murder of Dr Wasi.
The meeting criticised the police and other law–enforcement agencies that had failed to protect the people, particularly the medical community, and requested all the doctors working in public and private hospitals to observe a token strike for two hours to lodge their protest. However, it was decided that emergency services would remain open during the strike.
The participants of the meeting asked the government to ensure protection of doctors or the medical fraternity would be left with no option but to observe a complete strike across the province for an indefinite period.
Dr Adhi said that as the doctors were extremely provoked and frustrated over the fresh killing, it was decided at the meeting that doctors would lodge their protest by boycotting the OPDs of three major hospitals on Friday.
Terming the ENT specialist’s killing a conspiracy against doctors and healthcare providers, Sindh Minister for Health Dr Sagheer Ahmad urged the people at the helm of affairs in the government to take serious notice of the incidents and prepare a comprehensive security plan for the protection of doctors and paramedical staff so that they could perform their medical duties without any fear.
The Pakistan Islamic Medical Association also held an urgent meeting to condemn the killing and demanded early arrest of the killers.
PIMA’s Karachi chapter chief Dr Salman Ghouri demanded that the government pay compensation to the heirs of the doctors who have lost their lives to targeted killings.
Meanwhile, Dr Samrina Hashmi, a senior member of the PMA, said that representatives of private hospital managements and the PIMA had also been taken on board and it was hoped that they would stand by the decisions regarding the token strike on Friday.