SIALKOT: On Aug 23, the recovery staff of an electronics shop brutally beat up Faizan Baig, of Talwaaara Mughlaan-Rangpura, publicly for not paying his monthly installment of a mobile phone he had bought from the shop a few months ago.

Faizan Baig’s father Zaheer Baig say the staff, armed with pistols, stormed into their house and beat Faizan in front of the whole locality for delaying the monthly installment of Rs3,500.

Faizan, a medical representative, had bought the phone from the shop for a doctor who had demanded it in turn to promote the products of Faizan’s pharmaceutical company.

Zaheer Baig alleged the goons took away his son from their house to their electronics shop (Khan Electronics located on Rangers Road) and resumed his thrashing.

Zaheer went to the shop with other people and begged the shop owners to free his son promising to pay the installment within two days. Humiliated and tortured, Faizan returned to home and remained sleepless the whole night. The next day he committed suicide.

“Faizan was much depressed after his humiliation by the shop staff. He took it to heart and committed suicide by swallowing poisonous pills on Aug 24,” Zaheer cried.

He said he submitted an application to the Rangpura police for a case against the staff but instead of registering the case, the police only launched a report of the incident mentioning that petitioner Zaheer Baig did not want any legal action against the shop owner.

He said as the shop owner was very influential, the Rangpura police were reluctant to register a case against him. He said his son had told them that he had bought the Android mobile phone on installments to give it to a local doctor.

Faizan, the only child of Zaheer, was also the only breadwinner in the family. With his death, Faizan’s widow, three-year-old son and an infant daughter besides his olden parents have been left without any breadwinner.

“The government should also take action against pharmaceutical companies which give very hard tasks of medicines’ sale to medical representatives only to leave them at the exploitation of doctors,” said Zaheer.

Faizan started his job as a medical representative about three years ago. His father said the company paid him a meagre salary, due to which it was very hard for him to meet his both ends as well.

Public circles have held the shop owner, the doctor and the pharmaceutical company responsible for the death of Faizan.

They said the business of selling appliances on installment with high markup was like a parallel banking but the government departments never took action against them. They said such business owners hired goons as recover staffers who would humiliate those defaulting on installments.

They said doctors’ prescriptions were always pharmaceutical company incentives’ driven.

Local senior police officials said they were investigating into the matter.

The family demanded Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Regional Police Officer Tariq Abbas Qureshi and Sialkot police chief Mustansar Feroz provide them security as well justice. They said the accused were threatening them with consequences for raising the issue with the media.

Several medical representatives said their job terms were very tough, which allowed doctors to exploit them. They demanded action against the doctor, whose coerced Faizan into meeting his demand, which ultimately ended up in his suicide.

Kamran, a medical representative, said: “Pharmaceutical companies offer attractive packages to doctors to boost their sales. These packages include the renovation of their clinics/hospitals, new cars, ACs/chillers and payment of the fees of schools and colleges of their children.”

Another rep Nasir Mahmood said some companies also offered umrah and Haj packages to doctors and their families as well.

In the business of medicine sales, doctors and companies get richer and richer, but reps like Faizan meet a tragic end.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2019