Layyah shopkeeper killed dozens with 'revenge' sweets

By AFP
Published: May 6, 2016
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Khalid Mehmood confessed in a court in Punjab that he had poisoned the sweets after his elder brother Tariq, who owned the sweet shop with him, "insulted and abused" him in a business dispute. PHOTO: FILE

Khalid Mehmood confessed in a court in Punjab that he had poisoned the sweets after his elder brother Tariq, who owned the sweet shop with him, "insulted and abused" him in a business dispute. PHOTO: FILE

MULTAN: A sweet shop owner in Layyah has confessed to fatally poisoning at least 30 people by lacing his goods with pesticide in an attempt to take revenge on his older brother, police told AFP on Friday.

Khalid Mehmood confessed in a court in Punjab that he had poisoned the sweets after his elder brother Tariq, who owned the sweet shop with him, “insulted and abused” him in a business dispute.

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“I wanted to teach him a lesson,” police investigator Mohammad Afzal quoted him as saying, with the statement confirmed by another senior police official. “I was so angry that I mixed the pesticides bottle in the sweets being baked at that time.”

The poisoned batch of sweets was bought by a local man who gave them to family and friends celebrating the birth of his grandson.

The baby’s father, six of his uncles and one aunt were among the 30 killed. The dead also included five children. Four victims are still in hospital.

Officials had earlier put the toll at 33, but police confirmed Friday it stood at 30. Police have told local reporters that 52 people consumed the sweets in total. Both Mehmood brothers were arrested along with one of their employees.

Food quality: Pesticide accident caused sweetmeat deaths: DCO

Investigators initially suspected the poisoning was an accident as a pesticide shop nearby was being renovated and the owner had left his products at the bakery for safe-keeping.

Pakistan has poor food safety standards and hygiene laws are rarely implemented. The brothers are due to appear in court again on Saturday, Afzal said.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • US CENTCOM
    May 6, 2016 - 4:58PM

    My thoughts are with the families of the deceased. One wrong decision ended up claiming the lives of many innocent people. The words cannot describe the insanity of the crime. I hope the friends and families of the deceased find the strength to deal with this tragedy.

    Ali Khan
    Digital Engagement Team, USCENTCOMRecommend

  • Rashid
    May 6, 2016 - 5:22PM

    So can we get death sentence for the convict? So he can also learn his lesson? We have to change our food arrangement standards.Recommend

  • Azi
    May 6, 2016 - 8:56PM

    Fight with the brother, kill 30 people in revenge, what a logic…. Some people need to be tortured to death.Recommend

  • Lolz
    May 6, 2016 - 10:10PM

    Who is the health minister of Punjab?Recommend

  • brar
    May 7, 2016 - 7:59AM

    Fight with brother and killed 30 innocent people instead of killing his brother, it is horrible, may the souls rest in peace.Recommend

  • Logitech
    May 7, 2016 - 9:17AM

    Why isn’t the local media reporting this? Why do we have to reply on Agence France-Presse for this scoop?

    Investigations into the Layyah-poisoning case also revealed that it’s a usual practice among sweet-makers to add urea to maintain the freshness of their product. AFP seems to have missed out on that.

    Baqar Bhatti
    Analog Disengagement Group, PAKCOMMRecommend

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