Peshawar Commissioner suffers heart attack, but recovering

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Oct 29, 2013.

Islamabad – Injured Peshawar Commissioner Sahibzada Muhammad Anis suffered a heart attack on Monday evening but was revived by doctors soon after, according to relatives of the commissioner.

The cardiac arrest occurred just when doctors had told the commissioner’s family his condition had improved from previous days.

Anis, who was injured in an explosion at an Islamabad apartment on Saturday, had been shifted to a private hospital from the Burns Centre at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) on Sunday afternoon.

He is being treated at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit and on Monday, prior to the heart attack, doctors had told the commissioner’s family that he was better than before, but the next 24 hours were crucial for his recovery.

The heart attack might have affected the recovery but doctors at the hospital were not available for comment.

The explosion which led to the commissioner’s injuries had occurred at Apartment 17 in the basement of Park Tower’s studio apartments building in F-10 on Saturday evening. The commissioner was in town with his family to see-off his daughter, who left for the UK on October 25 from the Islamabad airport.

Sources close to Anis have confirmed that he had received threats from militants in Peshawar and, perhaps coincidentally, his maternal uncle, an Army brigadier named Moinuddin Ahmed, was shot dead by militants in Islamabad in 2009.

Anis, a grade-20 Provincial Civil Service officer, was posted as Peshawar Commissioner in April. He was serving as the Commissioner of the Kohat Division prior to that.

In August, Anis had overturned the 33-year jail sentence of Dr Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani physician who allegedly helped the US track down Osama bin Laden and was sentenced on charges of colluding with banned militant outfit Lashkar-i-Islam.

Sources claimed that the explosion which injured Anis and a woman, who received around 45 per cent burns, might have been a targeted attack on the commissioner’s life.

But Police are treating the incident as an “accidental explosion caused by a gas leak.” Law-enforcement officials claimed there was no evidence to show that the explosion was caused by explosives otherwise used in bomb making. They have also publicly ruled out an assassination attempt.

Family members of Anis have not filed a complaint with the Shalimar Police Station, which has jurisdiction over the apartment building, indicating their concerns about the nature of the explosion and police have not registered a First Information Report.

The woman who was injured in the explosion is in serious condition and was put on the ventilator on Monday evening, according to doctors at the PIMS burns center where she is being treated.

A relative of the commissioner said the family shifted Anis to the private hospital on Sunday because of inadequate medical care by doctors at PIMS and privacy concerns.

The relative alleged that the PIMS administration had publicized inaccurate details about the patient’s injuries including a statement claiming Anis had received 95 to 100 per cent burns, which was widely circulated by the electronic and print media.

Based on the doctors’ assessment at the private hospital, the relative said the burn injuries Anis suffered are around 50 to 60 per cent.

The relative said Anis had burns on his back, abdomen, arms and legs but his face was safe and his body organs were working.

Anis has worse burns on the back — 60 per cent and third-degree —  but the burns on the rest of the body are around 45 to 50 per cent and second-degree, the relative said based on what the doctors told the family at the private hospital.

The doctors were not available to independently confirm the extent of the commissioner’s injuries.

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