ISLAMABAD: At least a dozen officials of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) have been summoned by the inquiry committee formed to probe the leak of the autopsy pictures of slain journalist Arshad Sharif which were featured in a TV show on a private media outlet.

The Pims management has also decided to approach the Pakistan Electronic Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to take action against Dunya News for airing the pictures of the late journalist taken during the postmortem at the hospital.

According to a document available with Dawn, the two-member inquiry committee headed by Dr Naveed A. Sheikh summoned officers, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 25 of the Civil Servant Ordinance 1973, on Nov 14 (Monday) at 9:30am in the conference room of the hospital.

Officers who have been summoned include Hospital Director Dr Khalid Masood, Medical Director Dr S. Hashim Raza, medical board chairman Dr S.H. Waqar, all members of the medical board, Director IT Mohammad Sohail and Cameraman Medical Board Mohiuddin.

Dr Masood awaiting forensic report to confirm cause of death

The committee could summon any other official of the hospital if required.

Hospital Director Dr Khalid Masood, while talking to Dawn, said it was unfortunate that the pictures were leaked and went viral on social media.

“I decided to establish an inquiry committee to investigate who was responsible for the leak. Moreover, we have decided to approach Pemra to note how a news channel can show pictures and hurt the family’s feelings. In my opinion, it was unethical and Pemra should take notice,” he said, adding that the hospital will write to the regulatory authority on Monday.

When asked why he was not sharing the postmortem report with the family of late Arshad Sharif, Dr Khalid Masood said initially the family did not contact him and the application was submitted in the office of the joint executive officer (JED).

“I stand by my words that the family did not contact me, contrary to news run by electronic media that the family was contacting me since the first day. The fact is that the family contacted me on Nov 10 and I sought a clarification from the JED,” he added.

He said the JED had informed him that the postmortem report was shared with the police on the very first day.

“However, the family was informed that according to rules, they have to contact police or get the report through a court,” Dr Masood added.

“Moreover the forensic report is yet to arrive so we are not in a position to comment about the [cause of] death with certainty,” he said.

Arshad Sharif was shot dead by Kenyan police near Nairobi on Oct 23 in an alleged case of ‘mistaken identity’. While investigations are underway to probe Arshad Sharif’s death, several TV channels claimed on Wednesday that the journalist was tortured and shot at close range after he was asked to step out of his car.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2022

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