Police in Pakistan have arrested a cook on suspicion of murder after 22 members of a powerful landowning clan were poisoned in an alleged political feud with a rival branch of the family.

Arsal Khan Khichi, who lost out on a provincial assembly seat to his cousin Jahanzeb Khan Khichi in the May election, is accused of paying the cook 50,000 rupees ($500) to poison food at his rival's home, causing the deaths.

The incident took place on June 9 in the farming town of Mailsi, around 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the Punjab city of Multan. "At least 22 people were killed after eating poisonous food at the residence of Jahanzeb Khan Khichi," senior police official Sadiq Ali Dogar told AFP. About 30 people including men, women and servants of the family got sick after eating the meal.

Dogar said a court remanded cook Mohammad Rafiq for five days into police custody for further investigations.AFP