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HYDERABAD: A couple and their three children were found dead in their house situated within the Supari Compound locality of Masoom Shah Colony on Tuesday evening.

Kifayat Sheikh, 40, his wife, Shaheen Sheikh, sons, Khizar, 5, and Mairaj 2, and daughter, Shanza, 3, were taken to the Liaquat University Hospital’s city branch, where doctors declared them dead on arrival.

Kifayat had five brothers all living in the ground plus two building within the Supari Compound. They families have separate kitchens. The deceased was jobless since he had left a private job some time ago. He along with his family lived in a single-room portion, which has an open courtyard, on the second floor of the house.

The official in-charge of local CIA office Aslam Langah told Dawn that it was Kifayat’s mother who first visited the ill-fated family after she returned from Karachi. “She told me that she entered the room from its side door as the front door was locked from inside. She said she felt smell of smoke usually emitted from gas heater, which she found switched off,” said the CIA official.

He quoted the woman as saying that she tried to wake them up but none of them responded. She said she came downstairs screaming. Many residents of the neighbourhood gathered there and started shifted the apparently unconscious couple and children to hospital. One of the children had just vomited, according to one resident of the area. However, all of them were pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

Kifayat’s elder brother, Zulfikar Sheikh, and his younger brother, Abdullah Sheikh, have their separate shops.

Hyderabad SSP Irfan Baloch told Dawn that according to initial opinion of the LHU medico-legal officer, it could be case of asphyxia as no suicide note was found in the room nor was anything found that could point to the use of poison. “Forensic experts are collecting possible evidence from the room,” he added.

Shaheen’s brother, Faisal, who arrived at the house, was quoted as saying that his brother-in-law [Kifayat] was disturbed. “Only recently, he did not let me meet my sister and even manhandled me,” Faisal told Dawn. His attitude was often aggressive, he added.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2017