23 dead after drinking Christmas moonshine in Pakistan

  • 28/12/2016
Pakistan moonshine deaths
A woman is comfored as she mourns the death of a relative who died after consuming locally made toxic liquor (Reuters)

A toxic homemade Christmas liquor has killed at least 23 people, mostly from Pakistan's Christian minority community, and made dozens sick.

At least 45 people were treated for poisoning after drinking the moonshine in the town of Toba Tek Singh, Punjab province, about 315 kilometres south of Islamabad.

"The maker and supplier of the toxic liquor is also included among the dead," said senior police official Bilal Kamyana.

The maker prepared liquor at home and sold it in polythene bags for 500 rupees (NZ$10.60) each, Mr Kamyana said.

Deaths from tainted liquor, often home-brewed, occur periodically in Muslim-majority Pakistan, often around religious festivals.

In March, at least 40 people, mostly Hindus, died after drinking toxic liquor days ahead of the festival of Holi.

It is illegal for Muslims to buy or consume alcohol in the country, and minorities need permits to buy it in restricted quantities.

Christians make up about 1.6 percent of Pakistan's 190 million people, with most living in Punjab.