At least 23 people have died after consuming poisoned sweets in central Pakistan, police officials say.

Umar Hayat, a resident of the Karor Lal Esan area in Punjab province, bought the sweets on April 17 - according to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper - from Tariq Hotel and Sweet Shop to distribute among friends and family after the birth of his grandson.

But celebration turned to sorrow when 10 people died the same day, including Hayat's six brothers, a sister and two family children.

"The death toll from consumption of the sweets has now risen to 23," Munir Ahmed, a local police official, told AFP news agency on Monday.

"In addition, 52 people are still being treated at various hospitals."

Rameez Bukhari, a senior police officer from the district, said three people - two brothers who run the bakery and a worker - have been arrested.

"There was a pesticide shop close by which was being renovated and the owner had left his pesticides at the bakery for safekeeping," said Bukhari.

"A baker may have used a small packet in the sweet mixture."

Bukhari said police were awaiting laboratory results.

 

Source: Agencies