Tuesday, March 21, 2023

SHC hears case of alleged toxic gas deaths in Keamari


KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday heard the case pertaining to deaths in Keamari port area by alleged toxic gas, ARY News reported.

I.G. Police Sindh, Advocate General and other officials appeared in the high court hearing with regard to deaths by alleged toxic gas in year 2020 and 2023.

At least 14 deaths had been reported in February 2020, whereas more than 300 patients complained about having breathing problem in the Keamari and hospitalised amid offloading of a consignment of soybean cargo from a ship.

“How many people have died in recent incidents,” Chief Justice questioned the IG Police. “Overall, 18 people have died in these incidents,” police chief replied. “Why cases were not registered of all 18 deaths,” the top judge further asked. “The police had registered cases if people come with their complaints,” police officer replied.

“It was responsibility of the SHO to file the case of deaths on behalf of the state,” Chief Justice Sindh said. “Why the police wait for an application for case registration,” he questioned. “How could the cause of deaths come to surface without inquiry,” the judge further asked.

“People will die regularly without any notice. Postmortem of each body is necessary, how could you wind up a case without autopsy of a body,” chief justice further questioned.

“Is it your investigation standard only one autopsy conducted from all these deaths,” the judge asked. “How you are investigating, there are many deaths but only one postmortem,” Justice Yousaf Ali Saeed remarked.

The bench blasted the deputy commissioner Keamari and forbid him to talk in the court. “You don’t know what happened, you should not remain on the office,” court criticized the district official.

“The state should be complainant in such cases and the case should be registered even the affected party fails to appear,” the court observed.

It is to be mentioned here that in 2020 the University of Karachi’s International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) in a report had pointed to “overexposure” to “soybean dust” as the probable cause of the mystery deaths.


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