Aftab Asif, Pakistan Psychiatrist, admits faking medical report

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The News
Top psychiatrist admits faking medical report used for accused’s bail
By Umar Cheema
December 13, 2018

Psychiatrist Aftab Asif

Psychiatrist Aftab Asif

ISLAMABAD: Akhtar Sait had a monetary dispute with Haroon Asif. He registered an FIR after the cheques for Rs3.4 million turned bogus. The police arrested Haroon. He was sent on judicial remand to Adiala Jail. Father of the accused, a medical doctor, conceived a plan to set his son free.

He approached Prof Dr Aftab Asif, the Chairman of Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, King Edward Medical University and Mayo Hospital in Lahore. Top psychiatrist issued a letter on March 28, 2017 when Haroon was in jail. He declared the accused his patient suffering from epilepsy and behavioral problem.

“He should take regular medicines along with the support by the family and he should do light work and refrain from strenuous work that may lead to tension and anxiety,” Dr Aftab further advised about the patient. The letter was submitted before the court which granted bail to the accused. This was used in another case as well to secure bail.

The complainant, Akhtar Sait, spoke with the doctor, apprised him of the situation how this fake certificate spoiled his case. He requested remedial measures but Dr Aftab didn’t oblige. Eventually, Akhtar opened second front of his battle to recover hard-earned money against this top psychiatrist. Unless the certificate proved fake, he couldn’t struggle for bringing his accused to justice. He filed a complaint with Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) against Dr Aftab for the issuance of false medical report. As the matter was taken up, Akhtar argued that Dr Aftab had issued three letters during the course of his litigation with Haroon; all bearing different signatures.

The psychiatrist handed the certificate when the accused was in jail and no medical examination was carried out, Akhtar further argued, and demanded the medical examination of Haroon to determine whether he really was suffering from the disease mentioned. He also produced a prescription issued when Haroon was in Islamabad unlike Dr Aftab’s claim that he was at his clinic in Lahore.

After cross-examining Dr Aftab, the disciplinary committee of PMDC found him guilty of issuing the fake letter and also that he didn’t bother to mention on it that it was not for the use in court eventually helping in the release of the accused. Instead of suspending his licence, the PMDC issued him a warning against such malpractices.

“After hearing both the parties and evaluating records, the committee unanimously decided to issue censure letter to respondent…..In view of the above, you are issued censure and strictly warned to be careful in future,” reads the PMDC letter issued on July 12, 2018.

Dr Aftab was adamant on his letters even after the PMDC ruling, despite repeated requests of Akhtar who said the letters were being used by his accused in bogus cheque case in the court for seeking relief.

Finally, Akhtar registered an FIR (228/18) against this top psychiatrist at Margalla Police Station, Islamabad, which has summoned record from the accused. Since a doctor’s malpractice can’t be reported to police unless proved by PMDC, Akhtar used that route of the regulator to do the needful.

Talking to The News, Dr Aftab admitted having issued the false letters on the request of the accused father not knowing Haroon was in jail and it would be misused. He said he did it with good faith and generally prepare such false certificates when assume it would harm no other person.

Explaining the background, he initially said he knew Haroon’s father as he used to come to his senior — late Haroon Rashid Chaudhry who died in 2010 — for his son’s treatment. Later, he said the accused person was his regular patient and that he should have mentioned on the letters that they couldn’t be used for the court’s purpose.

Responding to a question as to why three letters issued by him for the accused Haroon carrying conflicting signatures, he said sometimes they are signed by staff on his behalf. Asked why he is reluctant to withdraw these false letters as requested by the complainant who thought they are being misused in the court, Dr Aftab said he explained his position before PMDC and doing so separately could arise implications.