As investigations into the Toba Tek Singh tragedy unfold new revelations, the city police have added section of the Anti Terrorism Act, 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code. At the same time, the already invoked Section 322 was substituted by 322(A) in the FIR registered against five. These changes have been made on the recommendations of the district prosecutor.
Thus far more than 40 deaths have been confirmed after at least 150 people were seriously affected by consumption of toxic liquor on Christmas Eve. An FIR registered previously invoked sections 322 and 337-J of PPC against the accused, namely Muhammad Shahid, Muhammad Qasim, Muhammad Ashfaq, Sawan Maseeh and Adeel Mani Maseeh, who is still under treatment at the Faisalabad Allied hospital in Faisalabad. These alleged culprits have been hooked over charges of supplying aftershave lotion to in liquor bottles.
On Thursday, December 29, five of them were presented before the Anti Terrorism Court judge Chaudhry Ghulam Rasool who granted their 10-day physical remand on the police request. In the wake of Toba Tek Singh tragedy, Federal Minister for Human Rights Kamran Michael has directed a though inquiry into the incident.
Previously, on Wednesday, December 28, DPO Toba Tek Singh, Usman Akram Gondal while addressing a press conference, said that the tragedy had unfolded because the victims had consumed aftershave lotion instead of liquor. He further briefed the media about the raids being carried out in this connection. He said that police is making all out efforts in order to hook the perpetrators, revealing further that the prime suspect in this case, namely Sawan Masih is among five suspects who have already been arrested. At this occasion, the detainees were presented before the media.
In this connection, several witnesses who are residents of Mubarakabad Basti, the affected neighborhood said that Sawan Masih, who worked as a sweeper at the Chuttiana police station, had sold the liquor to Sajjad Masih, a sanitary worker at district police lines. PML-N MNA Khalid Javed Warraich has urged for strict action against the suspects.
DPO Usman Akram Gondal said that the prime suspect Sawan Masih and Iqbal Rakka Masih, Sajjad Masih and Adeel Mani Masih took 20-liter chemical can to Mubarakabad on the Christmas day. He further revealed that the chemical was used as aftershave lotion which was later sold to the people after being mixed with other poisonous chemicals or water.
“My humble submission before the Honorable Parliament to go for the legislation to void this lethal permission. My further request is to the Honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan to take a Sue Motto against this inhuman, merchandise of human lives and illegal and legal business of this life taking liquor,” Tariq Siraj Chaudhry Chairman Mut’hida Masihi Party demanded.