SARGODHA: An eight-year-old boy succumbed to his injuries three weeks after he was brutally beaten by a man with the professed healing power.
Ghazala Yasmin, a resident of Chak 91, brought her son Ali Raza, 8, to faith healer Waseem Shah (Chak 47 NB) for his “spiritual treatment” and offered token money to him. Shah subjected the child to torture and when his condition worsened, he returned the money and asked his mother to shift him to hospital.
A doctor examined the child and found out that his skull and ribs were broken and bladder had been damaged. The child died after treatment for three weeks and was laid to rest.
Muhammad Abbas, the father of the child, reported the matter to the Cantonment police after which Regional Police Officer Afzaal Kausar took notice of the incident and ordered police to arrest the suspect.
Police arrested Shah and registered a case against him but during the course of investigation, locals intervened and urged the child’s father to forgive the faith healer.
Abbas said he moved to Dubai after getting loan last year and police had categorically told him that he had to stay in Sargodha if he wanted to pursue the case.
Meanwhile, the RPO has directed police to add section 302 to the FIR and ensure cancellation of bail of the suspect.
The tragic incidents of violence by self-acclaimed faith healers are a routine affair and the gullible people, especially those with limited financial resources, fall a victim to the crime.
In a glaring case of such crime, faith healer Muhammad Ehsan had killed his 20 followers in the first week of April 2017. His case was referred to the Anti-Terrorism Court which has yet to decide it. The court is scheduled to hear the case shortly.
Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2019