MULTAN: The numbers of deaths occuring because of poisonous liquor have been rising across the Multan district.
Two people belonging to the Ram Kali area are reported to have died of alcohol abuse on May 12 and May 13. They were identified as Kala Thakur and Muhammad Afzal, raising the total number of such deaths in Multan in just a month to 12. According to the authorities, three people from Rangeelpur, a locality in Mumtazabad, also died of alcohol poisoning.
They were identified as Irshad alias Shada, Iqbal of Muzaffargarh. Three other men, Ghulam Ali, Sheraz Ali and Abdul Ghaffar, were also said to have died because of the same reason. All of them are said to have died in Tibia Sultan Pur. On Tuesday, three more people died after consuming over 23 bottles of alcohol among themselves. Their names are: Munir Hussain, Khalid Hussain, Muhammad Aslam Gujjjar and they belonged to Kaiyan Pur.
The matter was hushed up by their families who tried to keep it out of public eye and refused to give any statements to police. Kala Thakur and Muhammad Afzal’s funeral prayers were said to have been offered near Bahawalpur Bypass. Mumtazabad police officials said they did not know about the incident, and officials of the health department said that the deceased had refused hospital treatment before their death. Mumtazabad police station house officer (SHO) Rao Saleem has refused to mention poisoned liquor as the cause behind deaths in his report.
The SHO, said to have been deputed on the recommendation of a lawmaker, is alleged to have warned the families of the deceased against divulging the real cause of the deaths. “He said that if we showed alcohol poisoning as the real reason behind their deaths, he would arrest us,” Muhammad Afzal’s father Rehman Afzal said. This incident had taken place after senior police officials issued a warning, saying that if anyone died of consuming poisonous liquor, the local SHO would be held responsible. Authorities have apprehended a bootlegger, Rana Taimur in the case. According to police Muhammad Aslam Gujjar used to host parties at his home in Multan in Ram Kalu and openly served alcohol.
According to local people, the police officials themselves are involved in the sale of moonshine and mixed liquor. THey said that not just police officials but their relatives were also involved in the illegal business.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 15th, 2010.