The postmortem forensic report on the death of alleged ATM thief Salahuddin Ayubi has confirmed the presence of torture marks on his body prior to his death, health department officials, as well as the District Standing Medical Board (DSMB) in Rahim Yar Khan have concluded.
Medical Superintendent Dr Ghulam Rabbani told Dawn on Tuesday that the report was prepared by the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) and was submitted to City A division police on Monday.
A member of the medical team that conducted Ayubi’s autopsy, wishing to remain anonymous, stated that various samples of skin taken “show violence on the body”.
“The deceased was also affected by lung disease and hepatitis,” he added.
According to the forensic report, a copy of which is available with Dawn, the various samples submitted to PFSA indicate that the injuries were antemortem (before death) in nature.
“The submitted pieces of skin from right deltoid (shoulder) area, left deltoid area and left hand reveals presence of blood haemorrhages, and scattered inflammatory cells suggesting antemortem nature of injuries with associated inflammation,” read the report.
The report has similar remarks about the sample taken from the left elbow joint.
An official from the health department, requesting anonymity told Dawn that the histopathology of injuries shows that the deceased was “subjected to violence before his death”.
“Blood clots were found on the injured body parts. There were signs of torture on the upper side of the right arm and the left side of the belly,” the official said.
“The man was physically tortured before his death,” he confirmed.
The DSMB in its final and “unanimous opinion” given in the post-mortem report has stated: “Keeping in view the autopsy report, forensic toxicology and forensic histopathology reports […] the injuries are antemortem in nature and caused by blunt means confirming antemortem physical violence”.
The board has said that the possibility of death due to the “combined effects of antemortem injuries mentioned in the postmortem report, restrictive lung disease and neurogenic shock cannot be ruled out”.
Remains to be exhumed for another autopsy
Ayubi, a resident of Gujranwala, was arrested in Rahim Yar Khan when he was allegedly caught stealing from an ATM machine on Aug 31. Two days later, he was reported dead.
According to the district police officer’s spokesperson Zeeshan Randhawa, Ayubi was behaving like a “mad man” in lockup when he “suddenly became unwell”. He had said that the man was unconscious when he was shifted to the emergency ward of Sheikh Zayed Medical College Hospital, where doctors confirmed his death.
Ayubi’s father Muhammad Afzaal had moved a petition in court asking that the body be exhumed and a proper autopsy be carried out.
He alleged that the police got the postmortem conducted at night in haste by the medical board headed by the Sheikh Zayed Medical College Hospital (SZMCH) medical superintendent without informing the family despite the fact that the address of the petitioner was tattooed on the arm of the deceased.
Ayubi’s father also said that the family was not allowed to examine his body and a copy of the autopsy report was not provided to him.
Afzaal said when he took the body to his village in Gujranwala and during bathing [rite] he observed marks of extreme torture. He said many of the injuries that were visible on the body were not recorded in the autopsy report.
The magistrate hearing the case accepted Afzaal’s petition for further postmortem after exhumation of the body and directed the Punjab health secretary to constitute a medical board as per rules and regulations.