Christians poisoned after drinking toxic liquor in Pakistan on Christmas day

December 29, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Pakistan, December 28, 2016; Dozens of Christians were poisoned with toxic alcohol during a Christmas party in the Punjab province of Pakistan on Sunday, which caused over 30 people to perish.

At least 31 people have died and as many as 60 people fell ill after consuming the alcohol during the holiday party in the small town of Toba Tek Singh.

According to The New York Times, a local police officer named Atif Imran Qureshi said that as many as 50 people were transported to a hospital in the closest major city, Faisalabad, while at least a dozen were taken to a local hospital.

After initial reports indicated that as many as 27 had died, authorities are saying that a total of 12 people died on Monday, while 19 people died on Tuesday.

Local police officer Mohammad Nadeem told BBC that another 25 people are still being treated and are having their stomachs pumped at hospitals in Faisalabad or the hospital in Toba Tek Singh.

“The men who belong to the Christian community drank liquor on the night of 25 December and went home,” Nadeem explained. “Tragedy struck the next morning when many did not rise from their beds, while others got sick.”

As it is illegal in Pakistan for Muslims to buy alcohol, Christians and other religious minorities can technically buy alcohol but doing so requires a special permit from local and federal authorities.

The strict alcohol laws in Pakistan often leads many non-Muslims and Muslims alike to brew their own alcoholic beverages or buy bootlegged alcohol, which often can be hazardous considering it take precise conditions to separate the dangerous methanol properly.

Since alcoholic beverages were banned in the Muslim-majority country in 1977, bootlegging alcohol has become a multi-million dollar industry.

Nadeem said that the liquor consumed by those victims on Christmas Day was also believed to be a homemade liquor.

Nadeem explained that two men had been tasked with going to the store to buy alcohol for the party, however, the local vendors were out of stock.

“The local sellers were out of stock so they went and bought it from somewhere else,” the police officer explained. “Both [men] have died.”

Authorities are still in the process of investigating to find out where the alcohol was made and sold.

As the Times reports, most of the residents of the village where the deadly alcohol was consumed are Christians.

“We are still investigating what kind of drink it was,” Qureshi told The New York Times. “We didn’t find any bottles, but it would most probably be homemade liquor.”

This is not the first time and probably won’t be the last time that there has been a mass poisoning as a result of the consumption of dangerous homemade liquors in Pakistan.

On Oct. 5, Pakistani authorities reported that at least 21 people died in the city of Karachi in the Sindh province after consuming toxic liquor while celebrating the Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha.

That came after 19 others in Karachi died from poisoning the week before.

– christian post

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