Reports say at least 23 people have died from eating contaminated sweets in central Pakistan.

Police say the deaths began last week after a man in Punjab province bought the treats to celebrate the birth of his son. He and 11 other relatives are among the dead – in all 77 people were affected.

Five however  remain in a serious condition and a BBC report says police have arrested two owners of a local sweet shop and one of their employees while the source of the contamination is investigated.

Officials suspect pesticide from a store next to the shop may accidentally have found its way into the laddoos – ball-shaped sweets popular at special occasions.

Laboratory tests are being carried out after police say they found sachets of pesticide inside the sweet shop.

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