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Toxic liquor kills at least 32 in Pakistani town

By Allen Cone
Toxic liquor kills at least 32 in Pakistani town
Martinis are on display at a sidewalk bar in Washington, D.C. According to officials, 32 people died in a Pakistani town after consuming homemade alcohol on Christmas Day. File Photo by Billie Jean Shaw/UPI

TOBA TEK SINGH, Pakistan, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- At least 32 people, mostly Christians, died after consuming homemade liquor in a Pakistani town on Christmas, law enforcement said.

Another 25 people were being treated in hospitals after drinking the illegal alcohol in the city of Toba Tek Singh, police officer Mohammad Nadeem told BBC Urdu.

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Liquor sales are tightly regulated in Pakistan because Muslims are forbidden from buying or drinking it. Most residents of the Mubarakabad neighborhood of Toba Tek Singh are Christians, though, a minority in Pakistan. Wealthy Pakistanis buy bootlegged foreign alcohol, but poor people often drink home brews that can contain methanol, commonly used in anti-freeze and fuel.

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

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Two local men were asked to buy alcohol at an unknown location for the party, he said.

"The local sellers were out of stock so they went and bought it from somewhere else. Both have died," Nadeem said.

A father-son duo have been arrested for making the toxic liquor, The Times of India reported.

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"We are still investigating what kind of drink it was," Atif Imran Qureshi, a police official in Toba Tek Singh, told The New York Times. "We didn't find any bottles, but it would most probably be homemade liquor."

In October, 11 people died from alcohol poisoning, also in Punjab province.

In 2014 some 40 people died within a few days as a result of drinking tainted alcohol in Sindh.

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And others have died in other nations, dozens in the Russian city of Irkutsk after drinking bath lotion that contained alcohol. In India, hundreds have died in alcohol poisoning incidents.

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