Nearly 70 Pakistani Christians died or are dangerously ill after ingesting tainted alcohol during Christmas festivities.
Alcohol sales are extremely limited in the majority Muslim country, where only religious minorities are officially allowed to buy it with a valid permit. The legally sold alcohol is heavily taxed, and most Christian minorities in Pakistan are day laborers who cannot afford it.
Many Pakistanis resort to brewing their own form of moonshine to subvert the regulation, and there is a healthy blackmarket for the drink for all religious denominations.
“The local sellers were out of stock so they went and bought it from somewhere else,” one Pakistani police officer told BBCNews. Authorities say they are unsure how to find the seller of the tainted alcohol, because everyone involved in the purchase has died.
The incident is similar to the June 2015 poisoning of nearly 100 Indians in Mumbai. Homemade moonshine is prevalent in India among poor day laborers, and has claimed the lives of nearly 300 Indians since 2009.
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