Senior police official says the assailant is suffering from ‘mental illness’
Police in Karachi on Thursday placed an official of the Counter-Terrorism Department, Kamran, under arrest after he shot at and injured a doctor in the emergency ward of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD).
A case has been registered against Kamran under Section 324 of the Pakistan Penal Code, related to charges of attempted murder, on behalf of the injured doctor’s son, Abdul Hussain.
Hussain, in his statement to police, said a man in shalwar kameez had entered the emergency ward of the NICVD on Wednesday night and questioned about the whereabouts of the duty in-charge from Tuesday night. He alleged that when Dr. Fahad expressed ignorance, the man shouted abuses at him, threatened him with dire consequences, shot him, and fled.
Police said Kamran had confessed to opening fire inside the hospital on Wednesday night, adding that in addition to shooting the doctor, he had fired several shots in the air before fleeing the scene. The injured doctor was shot thrice, injuring both legs, and is currently being treated at hospital, where he is in stable condition.
According to eyewitnesses, chaos erupted at NICVD after Kamran opened fire in the emergency ward. They said he was captured by nearby citizens and the guards of the emergency ward, who handed him to the police along with the weapon found on his person. Following the incident, NICVD management closed off the emergency ward for cardiac patients, and referred all incoming cases to private hospitals.
In a WhatsApp voice note shared with media, CTD-II Civil Lines In-charge Inspector Raja Umar Khattab claims the detained cop has a mental health condition and had been unwell for the past few days. He claimed Kamran had gone to the NICVD on Tuesday seeking medication to help him sleep, but one of the doctors on duty had refused to prescribe any drugs, resulting in a dispute.
According to Khattab, Kamran left the hospital without incident that night but returned a day later and asked to meet the same doctor once more. On not being able to find him, Kamran became agitated and opened fire on Dr. Fahad.
The same voice note alleges that Kamran had fled the scene and reached the Civil Lines police station of his own accord, confessing that he had “killed” a doctor. Khattab says that once they had calmed down Kamran, officials immediately contacted the Saddar SHO and handed Kamran to them for investigation.
Police have said that Kamran had confessed to threatening the doctor who denied him medication, saying that he wanted to “punish the doctor for his indifference.” It appears he left his house with a loaded pistol to take revenge.
The Pakistan Medical Association, in a statement issued on Thursday, condemned the assault, pointing out that healthcare workers were already under a lot of pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic, and this type of aggression was making things “even more difficult” for them.
“Doctors are treating patients at the risk of their own lives,” it said, noting thus far they had not been provided security promised by the government to protect them from hostile behavior of patients’ families. The PMA said that while it always believed in resolving all matters through dialogue, if similar assaults continued in the days to come, they might be forced to launch a protest movement against the government’s indifference.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a speech last week, had assured healthcare workers that they would be provided security as part of a “special package” devised by the government to care for ‘front-line workers’ in the fight against COVID-19.