Three people, who had eaten bread made from poisoned wheat on Tuesday, died at the Nishtar Hospital in Multan on Thursday taking the death toll to nine. Two more are in critical condition.
The deceased include four children under four years of age.
Doctors who treated them confirmed poisoning.
As many as 11 people- 10 members of a family and a neighbour- had eaten the poisonous bread. The family had apparently forgotten to remove pesticide pills from the wheat before it was sent for grinding.
The incident occurred at the house of Ghulam Yaseen, a farmer in Jatoi tehsil in Muzaffargarh.
The pesticide pills are kept in the wheat to protect it from pests. It is, however, removed from the crop before it is crushed. This time, Yaseen’s family, for got to do so.
The bread was eaten by 10 of the 15 members of the joint family and a neighbour, who was visiting the family over dinner.
Rescue officials said that those who had eaten the bread had started vomiting shortly after the dinner. Two of them died before they could be taken to hospital.
The others were rushed to the tehsil headquarters hospital, from where they were sent to Nishtar Hospital in Multan. Four of them died on the way.
The rest were kept in intensive care unit, where three died on Thursday.
Dr Noor Ahmed, deputy medical superintendent at the emergency ward, said that the pills affected the heart and were cardiac-toxic. He said survival was unlikely. Jatoi police said they were also investigating possibility of a plot against the family.
Caretaker Chief Minister Najam Sethi expressed grief over the deaths and directed the Dera Ghazi Khan police commissioner to probe the matter. The CM has sought a report on the incident.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2013.
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