A top official from Multan's Nishtar Hospital has blamed the police and rescue officials for the decaying bodies at the medical facility's rooftop, after the videos of it left Pakistan in shock.
Following reports of multiple unidentified decomposing bodies on the medical facility's rooftop, the Punjab government and Nishtar Medical University's Vice-Chancellor formed separate committees, Geo News reported.
Nishtar Medical University's (NMU) Head of Anatomy Department Dr Mariam Ashraf said that the rescue officials and police were to blame for the piling up of bodies in the morgue and on its roof.
Ashraf said that the medical facility could not refuse to accept the bodies as it was bound to take them in as safekeeping.
"Police and rescue officials ask us to keep it in the hospital. The police and rescue officials do not take them back on time. We have written documents in which we have asked them to take the bodies. Since there is a lag, such things happen," Geo News quoted the official as saying.
The hospital official said the bodies that the medical facility receives from police are usually decayed and they cannot be kept in the mortuary.
"As a result of their condition, maggots start eating them, and they can travel from one body to another. This is why, the bodies that are decaying are kept on the roof, where there are three rooms."
When asked about Edhi Foundation's role, she praised the non-governmental organisation, but also blamed them for not taking back the bodies, Geo News reported.
"Edhi Foundation has not been picking up bodies from our hospital since they do not have burial space in their graveyard," she said.
"The only reason for the bodies being kept on the roof is that their influx is huge and they aren't returning back to the police stations in the numbers that they should."
Rubbishing claims that there were 200 or some bodies on the rooftop, the hospital official said that the medical facility's administration has counted the exact number of bodies and shared the details with all the concerned authorities.
"Let me make it clear, only a few bodies were kept above. Putrified bodies are kept in the room."
Ashraf said that the bodies, which are given to the hospital by the police, are kept in the morgue for a month and in case no one shows up to claim the bodies, it sends them back to the police for burial.
"Usually, the abandoned bodies that we receive are already decayed to an increased extent. We follow all our SOPs, we do not refuse to take decayed bodies as well."
In reply to a question about the non-functional morgues, she said the hospital administration recently held a meeting with the Secretary of Health at Punjab Secondary Healthcare and Medical Education Department.
In the meeting, a new mortuary was sanctioned for the hospital along with the funding for the civil works for the dedicated structures to be built for keeping the bodies.
"Our institute absorbs the bulk of the load of the province in terms of receiving such bodies."
She said the hospital won't keep the highly decayed bodies in the regular mortuary and will upgrade the special infrastructure where these human remains would be kept.
Ashraf also defended the claims of several bodies being on the roof and said that not all of them were whole as autopsied bodies were also among them.
She explained that as the autopsied bodies are not whole and their organs and limbs are sometimes not attached to the body so they look like a pile of human body parts, Geo News reported.
"Those medically mutilated bodies were giving the impression there was a lot of them there."