Manzoora at her Dumba Goth residence.
Manzoora at her Dumba Goth residence.

KARACHI: A middle-aged woman believed to be dead woke up at the Edhi morgue on Monday when she was being given the ritual bath prior to her burial, family and charity officials said.

They said 55-year-old Manzoora was ‘brought dead’ to the Edhi morgue in Sohrab Goth by her family, as apparently they were unable to afford the cost of the funeral

An Edhi Foundation official told Dawn that usually poor people brought their dead to the morgue for funeral arrangements that included ghusl, the ritual bathing of a dead Muslim person, enshrouding the body with a clean white sheet and burial in the charity-run graveyard.

The woman’s body was handed over to a female volunteer at the Edhi morgue for ghusl. However, the volunteer noticed that Manzoora, supposedly dead, was breathing and the volunteer called Manzoora’s relatives.

Bashir, Manzoora’s husband, later told Dawn that she was unconscious at the morgue but regained consciousness as soon as she was put on a stretcher.

The family, instead of taking her to a hospital, took her home in Dumba Goth off the Superhighway upon her insistence.

Bashir, a labourer by profession, said his wife was feeling unwell on Sunday evening. He said being poor he could not afford to take her to a hospital, so he went to a pharmacy, told the person there about her symptoms and purchased some medicine based on his “prescription”.

He said at around 3am her condition deteriorated and he sought help from the supervisor of the poultry farm where he worked to shift her to a hospital in the city.

But his ailing wife believed she would not survive and asked her family to recite kalima instead. Then she fell unconscious.

Bashir and his family believed she had died as she had stopped breathing. With the help of his neighbours, he shifted her body to the morgue in an ambulance for her burial arrangements.

He recalled the woman volunteer at the morgue was about to give her the ritual bath when she realised Manzoora was breathing.

“It is the blessing of Almighty Allah,” said a jubilant Bashir, who originally hails from Punjab’s Muzaffargarh district and recently brought his family here.

He said his wife had suffered a stroke around two years ago.

A spokesman for the Edhi Foundation, Anwar Kazmi, told Dawn that several bodies were brought to the Edhi morgue on a daily basis for ghusl and burial. He said the staff wrote the particulars of the dead and gave a paper chit to the volunteers concerned to make free-of-cost burial arrangements.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd , 2015

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