19 September 2019

Poisonous sweets kill 23 people in Pakistan

KONFRONTASI-Contaminated sweets have killed 23 people in central Pakistan, police say.

The owners and an employee of a sweetshop in Punjab province have been arrested after the deaths were linked to the sweets, which also left 54 people unwell.

Sajjad Hussain bought the sweets in Layyah district on 20 April to celebrate the birth of his son the previous day, a police spokesperson told the BBC.

Mr Hussain bought 4.5kg of the popular sweets, called laddoos, which killed him and 11 of his relatives. 

Officials suspect pesticides from a store next to the shop the sweets were bought from may have found their way into the product. 

Rameez Bukhari, a senior police officer from the area told AFP: "There was a pesticide shop close by which was being renovated, and the owner had left his pesticides at the bakery for safe keeping.

“A baker may have used a small packet in the sweet mixture.”

He added that police were still waiting for the results of laboratory testing. 

Only five of the 77 affected remain in Nishtar hospital in Multan, with other survivors having recovered. 

Police have charged the sweet shop owners under food control and poisonous substances law.[mr/independent/bbc]

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