LAHORE - The death of a professor in handcuffs sparked a blame-game among the authorities, but nobody took the responsibility.

Authorities came under severe criticism after a picture of the professor’s body in handcuffs went viral on the social media.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) blamed the jail staff, while the prisons department blamed the Punjab Police for death of a Sargodha University professor in chains, according to sources.

An investigation into the incident is under way on the directions of the Prisons IG. Prisons DIG Malik Mubashir Ahmed Khan is spearheading the inquiry.

As per initial inquiry, Camp Jail Lahore staff shifted Prof Javed Iqbal, who suffered a heart attack, to Services Hospital without handcuffs and sources claimed the CCTV footage also confirmed the claim of the Camp Jail staff, which handed over the patient to the police.

According to the police, Javed Iqbal was received from Camp Jail staff without handcuffs and was handcuffed later.  Police head constable Muhammad Azam claimed that as per orders of senior police officers and according to the SOPs, the prisoner’s handcuffs would not be removed without orders of a magistrate.

Sources said that handcuffs in Iqbal’s wrists belonged to the police department.

Rescue 1122 staff recorded their statement to the inquiry commission and said they shifted Javed Iqbal without handcuffs. The NAB spokesperson said, “We strongly reject the impression that he died in the custody of NAB.”

The deceased was facing an inquiry for opening sub-campuses of Sargodha University in Lahore and Mandi Bahauddin.   Opposition parties like the Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz demanded a thorough investigation into this matter.

In a statement released on Saturday, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan expressed serious concerns over the professor’s death in custody. “That such photographs commonly go ‘viral’ on social media networking sites as a matter of sensation rather than news is a question of ethics per se, but this does not detract from the facts of the case.  “The innocence or guilt of those taken into custody by state institutions such as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) needs to be established under the law and with strict and transparent regard for due process.

“Hyper-accountability– especially when accompanied by the sort of social signals sent by the image of a dead man in handcuffs or, earlier, a university professor brought to the court in chains – will not make for a more honest society,” HRCP stated.