Toxic liquor kills at least 24 in Pakistan

The victims include 22 Christians and two Muslims who were killed after consuming the toxic liquor brewed by the residents in Punjab province's Mubarakabad Basti on Christmas Eve.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Pakistani Christians gather as they mourn the death of relatives who were killed by toxic liquor on Christmas Eve in a Christian colony in Toba Tek Singh, on December 27, 2016.

At least twenty-four people, mostly Christians, were killed and dozens more sickened after consuming toxic liquor on Christmas Eve in central Pakistan, police said Tuesday. 

The incident happened in a Christian colony in Punjab province's Toba Tek Singh city, 338 kilometres (210 miles) south of Islamabad.

"According to latest information, 24 people including 22 Christians and two Muslims were killed after consuming the toxic liquor brewed by the residents in Mubarakabad Basti on Christmas Eve", local police official Imran Atif said. He added at least 60 people were taken ill.

Local media reported a higher death toll.

Though legal breweries exist in Pakistan, alcohol sales and consumption are prohibited for Muslims and regulated for minorities and foreigners.

While wealthy Pakistanis buy bootlegged foreign alcohol at heavily inflated prices, the poor often resort to home-brews that can contain methanol, commonly used in anti-freeze and fuel.

Eleven Christians died in October after consuming toxic liquor at a party in Punjab province.

In October 2014 at least 29 drinkers were killed after consuming methanol-tainted liquor over the Eid public holidays.

Similar mass poisoning incidents have claimed hundreds of lives in neighbouring India as well.

Earlier this month, at least 62 people died in Siberia after drinking a bath oil laced with methylated spirits.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies