Poison spreads: Even after 32 fatalities, health officials expect higher death toll

Several men fell sick and then died after drinking homemade liquor during Eid.


Our Correspondent October 10, 2014

KARACHI:


A total of 32 men have lost their lives so far after drinking poisonous homemade liquor during Eid but the health authorities are bracing for more deaths as a dozen more victims are struggling for lives at Jinnah hospital.


Abdul Sattar, Muhammad Hussain and Abdul Wahab were the three victims who died on Friday. Sattar and Hussain, residents of Korangi, were brought to the hospital in critical condition on Friday while Wahab was already under treatment at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC).

"With the arrival of seven more patients on Friday, there are now 15 patients under treatment at the hospital," said JPMC executive director Dr Seemin Jamali. "The remaining victims have either been released or have died."

Of these 15 patients, at least three have lost their eyesight and are still under observation, she added. According to Dr Jamali, all the patients had consumed the toxic liquor on Tuesday but they did not approach the hospital earlier due to fear of police action. They started arriving at JPMC long after they started feeling uneasy, she said, adding that the doctors are trying their best to save their lives.



The victims have been coming to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) from various parts of the city since Tuesday. Initially, the victims came from parts of district East, such as Landhi, Korangi, Sharafi Goth, Quaidabad, Bilal Colony, Awami Colony, Zaman Town and Majeed Colony but later several men came from parts of district South and Central, such as Mehmoodabad, Chanesar Goth, Preedy, Frere, Shirin Jinnah Colony, North Nazimabad and Lyari's Agra Taj Colony. A majority of the patients still belonged to district East.

Earlier, two DSPs and five SHOs of the Landhi and Korangi divisions of the police were suspended. The excise and taxation department and the police have also made some arrests and seized material used to manufacture toxic liquor. They have, however, yet to make arrests of those who were directly involved in manufacturing and selling the tainted liquor that caused such a large number of deaths. "I am still sitting with the investigators to probe the matter and to arrest those responsible," said Landhi SP Akhtar Farooq.

According to an excise and taxation officer, they have taken into custody some manufacturers and sellers. "But we have yet to ascertain who the victims bought toxic liquor from and where they work from," he said, adding that they are working with the police.

"We suspect that some wine shops might have been behind supplying or selling toxic liquor," he said, adding that they have arrested some wine shop owners. "Some samples of branded liquor have been taken to test them for deadly chemicals," he said.

On Thursday, civil rights campaigner Rana Faizul Hasan filed a petition in the Sindh High Court to order an inquiry into these recent deaths. He appealed to the court to track down the officials behind this illegal business and order their trial. He cited the provincial home, police, and excise and taxation authorities as respondents.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2014.

COMMENTS (1)

Watchman | 7 years ago | Reply

Please stop this probation. No one will die by drinking bad stuff. Z A Bhutto prohibited for his Survival still he was hanged. So many people still dieing . All these deaths, Bhutto is responsible, he will never be blessed.

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