Deadly Pakistan sweets 'poisoned by shop owner's brother'

Laddoos Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Laddoos are popular at special occasions (file photo)

Pakistani police say the brother of a sweet-shop owner poisoned a batch of sweets that killed more than 30 people last month.

The brother confessed to mixing pesticide into the sweets after a family dispute, police told the BBC.

However correspondents say there is confusion over what happened, because two other people have also told police that they poisoned the sweets.

The contaminated sweets had affected over 70 people in Punjab province.

Among those who died were 11 members of the same family who had bought the laddoos - ball-shaped sweets popular at special occasions - to celebrate the birth of a son.

Acting district police officer Ramiz Bokhari told the BBC that the 18-year-old brother of shop owner Tariq Mahmood had admitted to mixing pesticides in the sweets.

Image copyright Ikram Paracha
Image caption The sweet shop which provided the laddoos
Image copyright Ikram Paracha
Image caption Two of the contaminated sweets

"He told police his elder brother used to beat and abuse him," Mr Bokhari said, adding that the teenager had done it "in anger and revenge".

However, the owner of a nearby pesticide shop also told police that he poisoned the laddoos following a dispute he had with the sweet-shop owner. A worker at the sweet shop told police he had mixed in the pesticides by mistake.

Correspondents say the three conflicting statements have raised questions about police tactics and the value of confessions.

Rights groups have previously accused the Pakistani authorities of forcing confessions from suspects.

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