LAYYAH-One more affectees of toxic sweets breathed his last on Tuesday, taking the death toll to 28 while the police caught five persons including an agriculture officer and owner of a factory, involved in manufacturing pesticide “SallfoLaial” that caused the deaths.

The district police arrested five persons including owner of Maqbool Trader Chowk Azam, Maqbool Jutt and his brother Waseem Ahmad. The police said that they had set up a pesticide manufacturing factory, with the connivance of the agriculture officer, at their home where SallfoLaial pesticide is prepared and packed illegally.

Talking to this correspondent, Layyah District Police Officer Capt (r) Ali Zia said that the police have widened scope of the investigation into the toxic sweets incident, claiming that all (characters) of incident would be brought to the book soon.

On the other hand, a team comprising senior doctors of Jinnah Hospital, Lahore, along with a mobile hospital, also reached Fatehpur Chak 105-ML. Physician Dr Khalil Bokhari told the media that the team examined upon 61 affected people in the medical camp and prescribed them medicines. He claimed that condition of most of the patients in satisfactory while nine affectees whose condition is critical have been sent to DHQ Hospital Layyah and Jinnah Hospital Lahore for further treatment.

On the other hand, Punjab Food Minister Bilal Yaseen visited Chak 105/ML for the second consecutive day and enquired after the health of the affected people. Bilal Yaseen also handed over cheques of financial assistance of Rs0.5 million each to heirs of two more victims of the incident.

Talking to The Nation, the provincial minister claimed that the Punjab government is utilising all-out resources to save lives of the remaining affectees, adding that better medical facilities are being made available and ‘pesticide treatment specialists’ have been approached to cure the affectees. He pledged that whosoever is involved in the tragic incident would not be spared. “They will be traced and dealt with sternly,” he vowed.

The incident occurred when Umar Hayat, a resident of Chak-105/ML Fatehpur in Tehsil Kahror Lal Esan brought sweets from a local shop situated at Chowk-111 to celebrate the birth of his grandson, as the child had borne to his son 10 years of his marriage.

As they consumed the sweets, their condition turned worst and three persons died on the spot while dozens others fell sick and were admitted to different hospitals.