World News Death toll from Pakistan toxic liquor incident rises to 39

"So far 39 people have died after consuming toxic liquor," senior police official Atif Imran, who is investigating the case, told AFP. Most of the dead were Christians.

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Pakistani Christians carry a coffin for one of the victims who was killed by toxic liquor, during his funeral in Toba Tek Singh, central Pakistan, on December 27, 2016 play

Pakistani Christians carry a coffin for one of the victims who was killed by toxic liquor, during his funeral in Toba Tek Singh, central Pakistan, on December 27, 2016

(AFP/File)
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Thirty-nine people have now died after drinking home-made liquor mixed with aftershave on Christmas Eve in central Pakistan, officials said Friday, including two out of the four suspects accused of creating the toxic brew.

Police and hospital officials added 23 of the 121 people sickened in the incident, which happened in the town of Toba Tek Singh, some 340 kilometres (211 miles) south of Islamabad, are still in hospital.

"So far 39 people have died after consuming toxic liquor," senior police official Atif Imran, who is investigating the case, told AFP. Most of the dead were Christians.

Imran added that two of the four suspects accused of preparing the mix had died while the other two were had been charged with murder and terrorism related offences.

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

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, some 338 kilometres (210 miles) south of Islamabad, on December 27, 2016 Twenty-four people, mostly Christians, were killed and dozens more sickened after consuming toxic liquor on Christmas Eve in central Pakistan, police said, the latest case of deadly alchohol poisoning in the conservative Muslim country. play

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, some 338 kilometres (210 miles) south of Islamabad, on December 27, 2016 Twenty-four people, mostly Christians, were killed and dozens more sickened after consuming toxic liquor on Christmas Eve in central Pakistan, police said, the latest case of deadly alchohol poisoning in the conservative Muslim country.

(AFP/File)

While wealthy Pakistanis buy foreign alcohol on the black market 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 29 drinkers were killed after consuming methanol-tainted liquor over the Eid public holidays.

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