KARACHI: The bereaved families and friends of the 32 men who had fallen prey to the tainted liquor in Karachi have collectively called for an immediate ban on the sale of home-made liquor.
“I won't allow anyone to drink this poison around my street,” said a somber Navaid, whose elder brother Amir, 35, was among those killed after consuming the methanol-tainted liquor few days ago in Karachi's Korangi Town.
Navaid, 27, told this correspondent that he had warned his brother several times about the dangers of consuming home-made alcohol but he turned a deaf ear to his advice.
With tears in his eyes, Navaid further said his brother was an auto rickshaw driver and had 3 kids. “Aamir left this world, leaving his wife and kids in pain for the rest of their lives,” he added.
Navaid said the tragic incident turned the religious festival of Eid into a period of mourning and misery.
Another man Waseem, who lives next-door to Navaid, said his small neighbourhood witnessed five funerals during the Eid due to the curse of poisonous liquor. Waseem, in his 30s, claimed that 29 people were dead and dozens others were still under treatment in various local hospitals but the bloody business continues unabated in several areas of Karachi.
An old woman from the same area said: “We have lost our loved ones and we want no one else to go through the same agony.” Referring to a statement of Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah, she said those dead from toxic liquor can't be declared 'Martyrs' and the Chief Executive of the province should be ‘ashamed’ of his statement.
According to Joint Director Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) Dr Seemi Jamali, a total of 45 victims of home-made liquor had been brought to the hospital since October 7. Five of them were still in critical condition and fighting for their lives, she said.
In a cosmetic measure, the provincial administration had removed the Exice Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla and replaced him with Gyan Chand.
The new Excise Minister suspended 2 directors and four deputy directors after toxic liquor claimed dozens of lives in Karachi and Hyderabad in a short span of one week.
In an interview with BBC Urdu, Excise Minister Gyan Chand said that more than 100 spirit dealers have lost their licenses after the tragedy.
He added that spirit is being used for making toxic liquor and methyl-tainted liquor is illegally sold at cheap price.