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SHC seeks progress report on probe into mysterious deaths in Keamari

By Our Correspondent
June 09, 2023

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday directed the Sindh advocate general to submit a progress report with regard to the investigation into the mysterious deaths case in the Mochko area of Karachi. The direction came on petitions with regard to the recent 19 mysterious deaths, most of which were of minor children, in the Keamari’s Mochko area allegedly due to toxic gas emissions, as well as the similar mysterious deaths in Keamari in 2020.

During the hearing, a division bench of the high court comprising Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed asked the Sindh inspector general of police what action had been taken against police officials who had not conducted autopsies of persons that died in the incidents.

The police chief submitted that show cause notices had been issued to the investigation officers who did not conduct autopsies. The advocate general submitted that the Sindh government had constituted a team to deal with such incidents in the future. An official of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency told the high court that some factories had been sealed that were operating without any registration. The SHC directed the advocate general Sindh to submit a progress report in this regard on the next date of hearing.The petitioners, including right activists, had also approached the high court for ascertaining the cause of deaths in the Keamari gas leakage incident in 2020, in which 19 people had died and hundreds of others were affected due to mysterious poisonous gas leakage in the port area.

They had submitted that the federal and provincial authorities failed to protect the lives of citizens and no precautionary measures were taken by the port authorities to prevent the deadly leakage. They sought an independent inquiry into the incident and a direction for the government to pay compensation to the legal heirs of the deceased persons and affected citizens.The Sindh health department had in its interim report mentioned that 19 mysterious deaths were reported from Ali Mohammad Goth, Mawach Goth UC 8, District Keamari, during 16 days from January 10 till January 25.

They all exhibited symptoms of fever, sore throat and shortness of breath followed by death in five to seven days. Furthermore, the symptomatic patients did not show any rashes or conjunctivitis, although the community complained of a severely irritating smell in the environment.