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Two years after Keamari ‘gas leakage’ incident, SHC told expert opinion awaited

By Jamal Khurshid
June 18, 2022

Numerous facts need to be ascertained to determine the actual cause of death of 17 persons allegedly due to gas leakage in Keamari in February 2020.

The information to this effect was provided by the Sindh inspector general of police (IGP) to the Sindh High Court as he filed a progress report in the case on Friday. The high court had directed the police chief to submit a progress report with regard to the investigation into the Keamari gas leakage incident in February 2020 in which 17 people had died and hundreds others had been left affected.

The police chief stated in the report that chemical reports received from director laboratories and chemical examiner were negative about the presence of any hazardous substance and soya bean dust in the blood samples of affectef persons. However high level of IgE were reflected in a number of affected persons which indicated severe allergic reaction.

The report stated that the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency had not submitted conclusive findings in its report and in order to ascertain facts and determine the exact cause of 17 deaths, further investigations were required. The SHC was informed that the matter required technical and scientific input and investigations in the case could only move forward in the light of reports of all the relevant experts, departments and institutions.

The Sindh IGP maintained that so far none of the technical departments had helped the investigators determine the cause of 17 deaths. The police chief also stated an opinion of a police surgeon regarding the exhumation of bodies, according to which the cause of death was not likely to be ascertained upon exhumation after such a long passage of time.

The report stated that departments concerned had raised an objection that none of the workers working on the port was ever affected with soya bean dust. The IGP, however, submitted that the factual position was that the handling of soya bean by the Karachi Port Trust and Port Qasim was carried out through funnels therefore it did not affect the workers.The police chief said that letters had been issued to relevant departments for their expert opinion and their replies were awaited.