A toddler named Bisma has apparently died because the Karachi hospital her parents took her to for emergency treatment would not let them inside immediately. The reason given was the Bilawal Protocol, a list of security measures put in place by the Pakistan People’s Party because Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was visiting the hospital to mark the opening of a new trauma center there.
The incident has sparked a massive public outcry because Bisma’s death could easily have been prevented, according to doctors at the hospital. They said that if she had been admitted only ten minutes earlier, they could have saved her.
Bisma’s family denied healthcare access
According to The Express Tribune, Bisma’s father said she suffered from a serious breathing problem and that he had taken her to the emergency room at the Civil Hospital in Karachi. He said security guards denied them entry to the ER for more than an hour even though her condition was critical. A traffic jam caused by Bilawal’s and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah’s visit to the hospital may have caused further problems for the girl’s family, whose arrival at the hospital was delayed because they got stuck in traffic, reports Pakistan Today.
There appear to be conflicting reports about whether it was the traffic jam that led to Bisma’s death or whether it was the security guards’ decision to bar access to the hospital. The Express Tribune does not quote Bisma’s father as mentioning any traffic jam. Either way though, both problems appear to have been caused by the Bilawal Protocol, which calls for enhanced security measures surrounding official visits in the wake of the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Bilawal’s mother.
People tweeting for Bisma
With what appears to be righteous anger, people are tweeting furiously using the hashtag #BilwalInfantKiller. PTI Joint Secretary Amad Jah tweeted these images and called the protocol that led to the girl’s death “completely deplorable.”
— Amjad Jah PTI (@AmjadJahPTI) December 23, 2015
PPP officials deny allegations
A spokesperson for the Bilawal House denied that the PPP officials’ visit to the Civil Hospital had anything to do with the 10-month-old girl’s death. The Express Tribune cites Jameel Soomro as saying that the visit only lasted for about 15 to 20 minutes and that the road they took to the trauma center was a different road than that leading to the Civil Hospital.
The spokesperson added that there were no traffic jams and the Bilawal Protocol was not enacted during the visit because it was unnecessary. Soomro also said that some groups are targeting Bilawal’s visits by sparking negative coverage by the media. Bilawal has called for an official inquiry into the incident.