LAHORE: A former senior official of the University of Sargodha (UoS) died in jail while his handcuffed body, which was discovered at Lahore’s Services Hospital, shocked social media users who decried mistreatment and disrespect at the hands of the authorities.
Former CEO of the UoS Lahore sub-campus Mian Javed was under judicial remand for his alleged involvement in corruption related to the illegal sub-campuses of the varsity. He had been transferred to Camp Jail after being arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for allegedly setting up illegal sub-campuses and receiving bribes worth millions.
The 45-year-old died of heart attack, according to the Lahore District Jail authorities, who added that his health had deteriorated a few days ago and he was taken to a hospital for medical checkup. They said he suffered a cardiac arrest and was rushed to Services Hospital where the doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.
Pictures of the deceased’s handcuffed body soon went viral on social media and drew ire of the people who strongly opposed the ‘unfair treatment’ provided by the authorities.
Following a series of protests by students, the chief justice of Pakistan had taken a suo motu of the matter and directed NAB to investigate it. The bureau then filed a reference against former Sargodha University vice chancellor and five others, including Javed, for illegally opening sub-campuses in Lahore and Mandi Bahauddin and embezzling millions of rupees.
The NAB had arrested Javed earlier this year along with former UoS vice-chancellor Dr Mohammad Akram Chaudhry and four other varsity officials.
The suspects are accused of opening illegal campuses and extorting millions of rupees from students who suffered a great deal as they could not get degrees. In October, they were sent to jail on judicial remand by an accountability court in Lahore.
On Thursday, the accountability bureau obtained an extension in the judicial remand until January 2 for Javed and four other professors arrested in the same case.
A NAB spokesperson later clarified that the bureau had nothing to do with Javed’s death as an accountability court had sent him on judicial remand shortly after the arrest.
Prison officials had formally ensured that the suspect was in good health at the time of taking over his custody, the spokesperson said in his statement to media, and added that the deceased was transferred from NAB Lahore office in good health.
Officials at Camp Jail had shifted the deceased to Services Hospital on Friday after he had complained of chest pain, the statement read. The spokesperson strongly denied the perception that the suspect died under the custody of the NAB.
The NAB also expressed deep sorrow over the death of Javed.
It is pertinent to mention here that the NAB earlier received flak for making Punjab University former vice-chancellor Mujahid Kamran and other professors wear handcuffs in court. Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar had taken a suo motu notice of the action and called it ‘disrespectful’.
“Putting Mujahid Kamran and other professors in handcuffs is akin to killing their dignity. I will not tolerate the disrespect of teachers in this manner,” the chief justice warned. The hearing concluded with the submission of DG Shahzad’s written apology, which was accepted by the court.