HYDERABAD: Police arrested on Thursday the man responsible for over 55 deaths caused by toxic liquor in Tando Muhammad Khan.
The unofficial mortality toll is more than official death count, as most families avoided disclosing the cause of death. Majority of the victims belonged to the Hindu community, while some women are also among the deceased.
Celebrations turned sour: Death toll from toxic liquor rises to 55 in TM Khan
According to SSP Ghulam Shabbir Setharja, the police received a tip-off about presence of the suspect, Ali Nawaz Panhwar, near Burhan Shah graveyard. Panhwar tried to escape on a motorcycle while firing at the police. He sustained two gunshots to his legs before being caught.
Panhwar had been booked as a prime suspect along with Crime Investigation Agency in-charge sub-inspector Ghulam Shabbir Dalwani, Shafi Dalwani, Hakim Halepoto, Shaukat Ali, Abdul Rehman and three others under sections 337 and 316 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which are punishable with a maximum of 25 years imprisonment.
15 dead from alcohol poisoning near Karachi
Hyderabad DIG Khadim Hussain Rind revealed the arrest as well as announced Rs500,000 reward. According to the DIG, the liquor turned poisonous as methyl alcohol, a chemical, was mixed into it.
Sindh IG Allah Dino Khwaja had removed TM Khan SSP Nasim Ara due to her lack of control over the police force responsible for the incident. In her statement submitted before the Hyderabad DIG led inquiry committee, the SSP denied the charges. Ara stated that she ordered arrest of the liquor seller on March 21, but the police failed to apprehend him.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2016.