KARACHI: A 57-year-old convict of blasphemy died at the Central Prison Karachi on Tuesday, officials said.
Though the jail authorities insisted David Qamar died of a heart attack caused by natural reasons, his family and his lawyer said they had their doubts about the police claim.
“He (Qamar) complained of pain in the chest and was taken to the Civil Hospital Karachi,” said an official.“He died while being treated at the health facility. In February 2010, he had been sentenced to 25 years in prison for blasphemy.”
He said the medico-legal examination of Qamar’s body was supervised by the judicial magistrate (east) and compilation of a final report would take time.
Qamar was booked in separate cases registered under Section 295-C (use of derogatory remarks etc in respect of the Holy Prophet) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Saddar and Azizabad police stations in 2006.
During legal proceedings after his arrest, Qamar was found guilty of sending blasphemous text messages through cellphone to two different subscribers.
However, Qamar’s lawyer, Advocate Pervez Chaudhry, said the cellphone was neither registered in Qamar’s name nor was being used by him.
He also raised questions over the ‘sudden death’ of his client despite having no such health problem.
“Qamar hailed from Lahore, where his family is settled. We are in touch with them and would try our level best to pursue this incident. We would also request the authorities to look into this sensitive issue,” he added.
IG (prisons) Abdul Qadir Thebo ruled out any attempt on the convict’s life, saying that he was under no security threat and had been living in a separate barrack unit.
“There is a separate barrack unit for Christian prisoners. Besides, if past experience is any guide whoever kills a blasphemy suspect makes no attempt to conceal it. So far investigations have proved that he died of natural causes,” he said.