Suffering from depression and struggling with drug abuse, Zahoor’s family admitted him to the institution for help with recovery little more than two months prior to recovering his beaten and bruised body from the so-called place of healing.
Waqar Baksh, a former childhood friend, expressed his grievances over the unjust tragedy on social media and recounted his version of the story.
“It appears that such purity of a soul comes at a price, because like many others, Zahoor too had demons to fight. He tried to quit his drug habit on his own many times, relapsing on almost every attempt. It was then that his family decided he be admitted to this controversial religious institute, where they claim to cure ailments without administering any medicine.
Upon his arrival there, he was prohibited from having any contact with his family, even his wife and children. Zahoor was kept imprisoned for more than 8 weeks in a lonely institute, after which he endured the most horrific death.”
In fact, Qari Ilyas Qadri has been arrested for impractical treatment of his patients twice before; his madrassa was also closed down on both occasions.
First arrested in 2006 upon the complaints of 6 British nationals who had been lured into getting treatment from the clinic, his malpractice had garnered international attention when the former patients spoke up.
The Telegraph reported that patients were bound in chains and shackled together, where they were sexually assaulted, beaten, and starved.
The second arrest came after two patients escaped in 2014 and exposed the Pir to the police, who broke in to discover 115 patients in chains lining the corridors.
One of the patients, Noor Rehman, had spent three years shackled to a concrete slab crawling with insects. Noor had lost his eyesight overtime, possibly due to psychological stress or an untreated eye infection.
Another told of how the Qari would force his patients to perform manual labour such as building walls of the institution. Some said they would cook in the absence of the kitchen staff.
It is suspected that the mullah has strong connections that have allowed him to escape the real consequences of his crimes; there is reason to believe that the local police station’s SHO is involved with the Qari and aided him in getting bail upon his arrests.
With Zahoor Ahmed’s recent passing adding to the toll of Qadri’s dismissed atrocities over more than a decade, one can only help but wonder when the culprits will finally be held accountable for their actions.