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The last hours of a Christian sanitary worker in Pakistan

Irfan Masih was clearing a blocked sewer in Pakistan’s Sindh Province whilst he was overcome by toxic fumes. The 30-yr-old, who’s Christian, died in hospital. His circle of relatives says that doctors to start with refused to deal with him and allege he is a sufferer of growing discrimination from the Muslim majority. The BBC’s Riaz Sohail in Umarkot and M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad report.
When Irfan Masih was sent with two colleagues to clean a sewer that has been blocked for four months on Chhor road in Umarkot Metropolis, he could not have foreseen that his existence turned into approximately to give up.
His cousin Pervez, a sanitary worker like Irfan, said he changed into heading to paintings on 1 June while he heard approximately the incident.
“I rushed instantly to the spot wherein a few humans had been amassed. They had already pulled out Shaukat Masih, who turned into the subconscious. I helped bring out Yaqoob and Irfan.”
Shaukat Masih had been despatched down to rescue the two. Irfan was deepest down the sewer properly.
“Irfan was breathing, once in a while choking a bit. I lifted him on my shoulder and started out running closer to the sanatorium while a car rickshaw pulled over to assist me to bring him.


The Taluka Headquarters Hospital in Umarkot is a small one, with best one emergency room in which all 3 have been taken. Six medical doctors cope with six hundred outpatient and emergency instances every day.
One doctor got here in, checked out Irfan and instructed the ward boy to smooth him, Pervez Masih said. “I pleaded with him that Irfan changed into severely unwell and he should examine him right away. But he stated he become fasting [for Ramadan], and that Irfan changed into blanketed in sewage dirt. He went away.”
After some time, the sanatorium’s leader health practitioner arrived, he says, accompanied sometime later by using another. Neither medical doctor tended to the injured sanitary worker, even though Pervez Masih says the second medical doctor advised the ward boy to put him on oxygen.
“The ward boy did not wash Irfan as he turned into telling. He persevered to attempt to insert a cannula in Irfan’s wrist but could not find a vein.
“All this even as, I changed into fretting and pleading with one member of the workforce after any other to take care of Irfan. Then I wiped clean his face a chunk and put my mouth on his mouth and nostril and blew in to restore him.
“All this time, Irfan changed into respiratory. Occasionally a shiver would run down his body, like a person having an epileptic healthy.
“We ought to had been there for half of an hour earlier than he died. The ultimate time I breathed into his mouth and nose, he pulled in a deep breath and choked a little.”

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It was most effective than that the ward boy added the oxygen and placed the mask on his mouth, he stated, however, there did now not seem like any oxygen inside the cylinder. Minutes later a fourth doctor, Hanif Ares, got here in.
“He didn’t mind the dust, simply went down and embraced him and became him on his belly, and lower back on his back, and tried to resuscitate him manually. Then he stated it became no need. Irfan turned into gone

Irfan becomes Christian, like maximum sanitary employees in Pakistan. Some low-caste Hindus additionally do the process, but Muslims avoid this painting because they see it as under them.
Christians also face discrimination on this Muslim-majority kingdom. So too do Hindus, but in Umarkot there’s a Hindu populace of half a million, making them an influential organization. There are only a small quantity of Christians, however, and that they haven’t any meaningful illustration inside the local government

Dr. Jam Kumbhar, the chief of the health facility, denies allegations that medical doctors refused to the touch the 3 people until they had been washed or that one said he changed into fasting (with the viable implication that he changed into short-tempered as a result).
He says Irfan Masih “become already dead when they introduced him in,” notwithstanding his cousin Pervez’s designated account of the person’s ultimate moments.
“I am a Muslim and a doctor, and part of our education is to keep in mind that all patients are equal and we need to now not entertain prejudice in opposition to all and sundry,” Dr. Kumbhar told the BBC.
“I did no longer utter those phrases, nor did I hear any other medical doctor say that he became fasting and that he might contact the affected person only after the affected person changed into given a bathtub.”
The BBC requested to peer the access check in which lists each patient introduced into the emergency room and their clinical situation. Dr. Kumbhar stated they couldn’t discover it as it had been taken away through nearby Christians.
Local journalist Nahid Hussain Khatak, who reached the medical institution about 10 minutes after Irfan Masih, corroborates much of Pervez Masih’s account.

Serlyn Shetty
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