‘Ignored’ investigators complain of Punjab lab’s attitude

Updated November 17, 2018

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Investigators say that they will approach the PFSA, informing them that their attitude was not “advisable”.— SS courtesy: PFSA
Investigators say that they will approach the PFSA, informing them that their attitude was not “advisable”.— SS courtesy: PFSA

KARACHI: The Karachi police on Friday expressed their displeasure over the decision of the Punjab Forensic Science Agency’s (PFSA) “breach of trust” by making public the findings of food samples collected from the house of two minor boys who died last week in the city.

Two brothers, 18-month-old Ahmed and five-year-old Mohammad died from a suspected case of food poisoning on Nov 11 after dining out with their mother at a restaurant in Zamzama.

Investigators probing the incident said that they would approach the PFSA through a letter informing them that it was not an “advisable attitude” that instead of informing or handing over their findings to them, they allegedly informed the electronic media.

It was reported by a section of electronic media on Friday that “no trace of poison was found in the food samples collected from the house of the two children [that] died of alleged food poisoning after eating out at a restaurant in Karachi last week”.

Quoting “sources in the Punjab Forensic Science Agency,” the media reports said that the analysis of the food samples revealed “no trace of poison such as cyanide, insect killers or any other”.

A police investigator told Dawn on the condition of anonymity that after the news was aired, Karachi police authorities tried to contact the PFSA officials concerned over the phone but they did not attend the call.

He said that they were not in a position to make any comment about the purported findings as officially they had not received any report or confirmation so far.

The city police had sent at least 30 samples of eatables and other things collected from the house of the deceased brothers. These samples pertained to milk, water, their vomit and clothes, etc, which were sent by plane to Lahore.

Besides, four other samples related to the children’s post-mortem examination were sent by train to Lahore in order to protect the same so that the exact cause of death could be ascertained.

These samples were sent to Punjab as the Sindh government’s laboratory had become ‘non-functional’.

The investigators said that they were still probing the cause of death and hoped that the PFSA’s findings about the samples collected after the autopsies might help them to determine the cause of death.

After the tragic incident, the Sindh Food Authority had sealed the restaurant. Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah took notice of the incident and the city police chief Amir Ahmed Shaikh had set up an inquiry committee led by SSP South Pir Mohammed Shah.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2018