Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Qasr-e-Naz deaths: SHC seeks report on action taken against ‘negligent’ officers

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KARACHI: Sindh High Court on Thursday summoned reports on action taken against the officers of a government guesthouse, Qasr-e-Naz, over their alleged negligence that had led to the death of six members of a family, including five children, in Feb.

A bench of the SHC directed the federal and provincial governments as well as the police to submit their reports in this regard.

A petition was moved in the high court, claiming that the officers, who were released on bail after being pardoned by the legal heirs of the victims, were reinstated in their posts instead of facing departmental action.

It was stated that a Pakistan Public Works Department (PPWD) chief engineer, assistant engineer and other officials were among the accused who exhibited negligence yet they got scot-free.

The petitioner pleaded the court to order departmental action against at least 24 officials of the guesthouse over the incident.

Earlier, on June 3, a local court had granted bail to the nine accused in the case.

The court approved the bail of the accused against a surety bond of Rs1 million each after an agreement with the complainant who pardoned them in the name of Allah Almighty.

The suspects included chief engineer of the Pakistan Public Works Department Nadeem Akhtar Shaikh, supervisor Mehram Ali Barohi, assistant executive engineer Zakir Hussain, controller guesthouse Sikandar Hayat, contractor Sanobar Khan, receptionist Abdul Hameed, sweeper Perwez Bhatti, and two others.

The victim family had come to Karachi from Pishin and stayed at the Qasr-e-Naz.

Initially, it was suspected that they had died from food poisoning but later the investigation into the tragic incident revealed that they had died from poisoning from a commercial-grade toxic fumigant, aluminium phosphide.

The DIG Police South had pointed out the poisonous fumigation as the cause of their death.

DIG South Sharjeel Kharal in a media briefing on police investigation of the case said that the ill-fated family left Quetta on Feb 21 and reached Karachi 9:30 in the night. They took a meal in Khuzdar during their travel.

In Qasr-e-Naz they brought food from outside eateries. Faisal, the head of the family, found his wife ailing at 2:00 AM in the night and shifted her to hospital, the DIG said in briefing.

In the morning, he was informed that the children of the family were also ailing and they were too shifted to the hospital. The doctors told the police that three children had already died when they brought to the hospital, while two others died while being treated at the medical facility. The sister of Faisal also died the next day.

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