Five children died in Karachi early Friday morning and the police say the cause of death was food poisoning. Their aunt is currently being treated for food poisoning.
The family was from Balochistan’s Pishin and it is unclear where they ate the food that caused them to get sick. They arrived in Karachi at around 11pm.
On the way, they ate food at a street-side restaurant in Khuzdar at around 2pm and when they got to Karachi they ordered biryani from a restaurant in Saddar at around 11:30pm. The police say they ate at the Naubahar restaurant in Saddar, which is near the passport office.
The children have been identified as one-and-a-half-year-old Abdul Ali, four-year-old Aziz Faisal, six-year-old Aliya, seven-year-old Tauheed and nine-year-old Salwa.
They were staying at a Qasr-e-Naz (government lodge) in Karachi through a government officer, said South DIG Sharjeel Kharal. The father, identified as Faisal who is a land owner, and mother took his sister to the Aga Khan University Hospital when she began feeling sick at around 3am. When he came back to their lodgings, he found his children were all dead. His sister is still being treated at the hospital and is on the ventilator.
The police are investigating what they ate and, according to SSP South Pir Muhammad Shah, they are sending teams to both restaurants to get samples of the food.
The hospital has confirmed that the cause of death was food poisoning. However, the final cause of death will be determined once the medico-legal officer files their report. The bodies are being taken to Jinnah hospital for postmortem examinations.
The police believe the poisoned food might have been the food consumed in Khuzdar because food poisoning’s effects take five to six hours to manifest.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has taken notice of the incident and summoned a report from the Sindh Food Authority. The lodge room at which they were staying has been sealed as has the restaurant.
The Sindh Food Authority presented a preliminary report to the chief minister in the case in which it said that samples from the Qasr-e-Naz have been taken. CM Shah ordered the commissioner to go meet the children’s parents.
If they want to go back to Quetta, make arrangements for it, he directed.
The Karachi police chief has asked all people who have eaten at the Naubahar restaurant to call these phone numbers (03435142770 and 02199225500) to report any complaints they faced after eating food there.
The Sindh Food Authority obtained samples from the Naubahar restaurant Friday afternoon after spending two to three hours collecting samples. The samples were taken for testing. They were obtained from where the food is cooked and stored. The director of the authority was there himself to supervise the collection. A big team was at the site and they even interrogated employees, asking them questions like where do you buy your rice, where do you buy your vegetables and how do you cook them.