More than 170 recruits were reportedly shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), on late Sunday night after eating poisoned food served at a police training centre located in Razzaqabad.
Around 20 of the police recruits were in a serious condition after having dinner at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Elite Police Training Centre, Inspector General (IG) of Sindh Police, Fayyaz Ahmed Leghari said, adding that no deaths resulted from the incident.
Leghari told The Express Tribune that he had asked Additional Inspector General (AIG) Karachi, Iqbal Mahmood and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Training and Inspection Shahab Mazhar Bhalli to investigate the matter and prepare a detailed report on the incident.
He added that the food had been sent for a chemical examination and those involved will be ‘severely punished’.
The food containing the poison was ‘anda chana’ which was reportedly prepared a day before and available on the menu for dinner on Sunday, sources told The Express Tribune.
According to initial reports, around 1,800 recruits and officers were present at the centre and those who had anda chana for dinner fell sick.
In wake of the emergency, the training centre’s administration immediately called for ambulances and took the victims to the Pakistan Steel 100-Bed Hospital where only a few doctors and the paramedical staff were present, but they could not treat the victims beyond first aid.
“We are calling ambulance services repeatedly but nobody is paying heed and around half of the victims admitted are lying in the emergency,” Nizam Channa, night-shift in-charge at the hospital, told The Express Tribune.
Around 170 victims were later shifted to JPMC.
“They have been taken care of at the Poison Control Centre and will later be shifted to the medical ICU,” said Dr Seemin Jamali, JPMC emergency in-charge.
Following the incident, the recruits at the training centre protested and scuffled with the training and security officials present at the centre. Later, they moved out at the National Highway and pelted the vehicles with stones in an attempt to block the traffic.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2012.