KARACHI, March 2: The family of Baloch nationalist leader Sardar Akhtar Mengal has expressed fears that he may be killed in jail like his cousin Hasan Gichki.
President of the Balochistan National Party (Mengal) and former chief minister Akhtar Mengal, who has been in the Karachi Central Prison since December 2006, is reported to be suffering from a cardiac problem.
Voicing serious concern about Akhtar Mengal’s health, his relatives said they had doubts about the credentials of the jail doctor, but the authorities were not allowing him to meet a doctor of his choice.
On Sunday, a private television channel quoted the jail doctor, Dr Jehanzeb, as saying that Sardar Mengal had a ‘cardiac condition’.
However, Sindh Inspector-General Prisons Yameen Khan told Dawn that Mr Mengal was normal and there was no cardiac problem.
“The jail doctor and a doctor from the Civil Hospital Karachi have examined Akhtar Mengal. His ECG is normal and he is not suffering from any ailment,” the IG prisons said.
Sardar Mengal is facing charges of taking hostage two Military Intelligence officials ‘torturing’ them in his house in the DHA. Four of his servants have already been convicted in the case.
Akhtar Mengal’s father Sardar Attaullah Mengal told Dawn that during a meeting with his children on Saturday, Sardar Akhter asked them to leave because he could not sit in an upright position.
His children said he was perspiring profusely and was unable to get up from the bed.
“We cannot rely on the jail’s doctor and the authorities are not taking him to a hospital,” Attaullah Mengal said.
Fearing for his son’s life, Sardar Mengal alleged that Hasan Gichki had been killed by the government in the same prison a few years ago.
Sardar Akhtar Mengal was placed under house arrest at the Lasi Farm in Sakran near Hub after it was declared a sub-jail.
In December 2006, police arrested him and brought to Karachi.
Press conference: Addressing a hurriedly-called press conference at the Karachi Press Club, BNP (Mengal) leader Akhtar Lango expressed fears for Sardar Mengal’s life.
The former Balochistan MPA said that Akhtar Mengal had been in jail for one and a half years and he suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure.
He said that despite court orders, Sardar Mengal was being denied medical treatment outside the jail.