Islamabad: Twenty-one people, mostly Christians, were killed and dozens more affected after consuming toxic liquor on Christmas Eve in central Pakistan, police said on Tuesday.
The incident happened in a Christian colony in Toba Tek Singh city, 338 kilometres (210 miles) south of Islamabad.
“Residents in Mubarakabad Basti brewed liquor on Christmas Eve and consumed it. The liquor, which turned out to be toxic, killed 21 people and seriously affected 50 others,” local police official Muhammad Nadeem told AFP.
He said most of the deaths had occurred by late Monday. “Those killed by toxic liquor included 19 Christians and two Muslims,” Nadeem added.
Though legal breweries exist in Pakistan, alcohol sales and consumption are prohibited for Muslims and tightly 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.