LAHORE: Ten people died in the city on Monday and Tuesday after allegedly having consumed tainted liquor.
Six friends, who were celebrating an occasion, died in Youhanabad and the other six in Liaqatabad. The two areas are notorious for manufacturing and supplying spurious liquor.
The deceased were identified as Gohar, Nabil, Boota, Samuel Viki, Shera and Qasim Masih in Youhanabad and Akram, Saleem, Shan, Sanni, Asim and Quma from Behar Colony and Gill Chowk of Liaqatabad.
Three died on Monday and the others on Tuesday. Two others were said to be in hospitals in a serious condition.
DIG operations Dr Haider Ashraf said that according to initial inquiries the victims had consumed toxic liquor from Youhanabad.
But he confirmed only eight deaths – two in Liaqatabad and six in Youhanabad.
He claimed that Qasim, who had supplied the liquor, was among the dead. His brother Asif ran the same business.
“Two survivors told police that the liquor had been provided by Qasim and Asif,” the DIG said.
Police were carrying out raids to arrest Asif, he said.Youhanabad residents claimed that the liquor business had been thriving in the locality in connivance with local police.
“One in four residents of Youhanabad is running the liquor business because it is profitable,” Mohammad Saeed, a paan shop owner in the main bazaar of the locality said.
He said owners of most of the shops had no licence to produce or sell liquor.
Saeed also claimed that the toxic liquor which caused the deaths was supplied by Qasim and Asif.
Niamat Gill, an office-bearer of the Youhanabad Welfare Organisation, said police had launched a crackdown in 2011 on the criminals who ran the liquor business, but they resumed their activities after securing bails.
“The mafia is strong enough and police officials provide them shelter,” he said. The cheapest liquor was produced in houses.
Ashiq, father of Samuel Viki who is among the dead, said his other son Khurram had died after consuming toxic liquor a couple of years ago.
He condemned police for patronising the business and said the Nishtar Colony police possessed a list of people who sold liquor illegally.
No FIR was lodged till the filing of this report.