Basheer Qureshi’s death probe: Viscera sample contains phosphorous
KARACHI, April 19: A team of experts in forensic medicine and pathology belonging to different government medical institutions of Sindh has confirmed the presence of phosphorous — an extremely reactive and highly toxic element — in the viscera of the late Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz chairman, Basheer Ahmed Qureshi.
The investigations, conducted under the supervision of the team, found phosphorus in the specimen taken during a post-mortem examination of the deceased, said Prof Umer Memon, head of the forensic medicine department of the Dow International College, at a press conference on Thursday.
Accompanied by special secretary Dr Suresh Kumar and chemico-bacteriological laboratory director Dr Fazal Ilahi, Prof Memon said that the committee of experts tasked with the analysis of the viscera of the nationalist leader had lately submitted its reports to the Sindh health department.
“In addition to the chemical analysis, we also had the microscopic examination of the specimen, which revealed that Mr Qureshi had been a cardiac patient as well and had suffered a heart attack in the past.”
In reply to a question, he said the committee had requested the family of Mr Qureshi to give their accounts about his physical and health status. But they refused it, he added.
When asked about the role of phosphorous in human body, the professor explained that it had adverse effects or caused certain chemical and metabolic imbalances if the level of phosphorus accumulation in human body was high.
He added that the reasons behind an increased or lethal level of phosphorous in a human body could be consumption of organophosphate, including insecticides and pesticides, or use of certain drugs.
He said the committee’s mandate was not to determine the rate of phosphorus found in the specimen and if the authorities concerned found it appropriate, a further investigation or quantitative examination could be ordered.
An international standard chemical investigation could also be undertaken to know the exact level of phosphorous in the specimen, he added. So far, he claimed, he was not in a position to confirm whether Mr Qureshi was poisoned.
According to research studies, phosphorus is a major mineral found throughout the body. It is controlled as part of normal, healthy kidney function. The level of phosphorus accumulates in the body when the kidneys do not work effectively.
Phosphorus is found in almost every food, and as such, deficiency is rare. But consuming too much phosphorus causes the body to send calcium from the bones to the blood in an attempt to restore balance. This transfer of calcium weakens bones, and can cause calcification of internal organs, increasing risk of heart attack and other vascular diseases, the studies show.