Karachi: Eighteen people in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi have died after drinking homemade liquor during Eid holidays, officials said Wednesday, highlighting the dangers of moonshine in a country where Muslims are barred from drinking.
The deaths occurred in the low-income Landhi and Korangi neighbourhoods of the city and the majority of the victims were mostly Muslims who are celebrating the three-day public holiday over Eid ul-Adha.
"Since last (Tuesday) night 18 people have died after consuming toxic liquor," doctor Seemi Jamali of Karachi's Jinnah Hospital said.
The doctors were trying to save the lives of 15 others whose condition was serious, she added. Area police chief Akhtar Farooq said that police had conducted raids at illegal liquor factories and arrested three accused while seizing "Katchi Sharab" (home made liquor).
Though legal breweries exist in Pakistan, the sale of alcohol is prohibited to Muslims and tightly regulated for minorities and foreigners.
While higher-income Pakistanis buy bootlegged alcohol at heavily-inflated prices, the poor often resort to home-brews that can contain methanol, commonly used in anti-freeze and fuel, that can lead to blindness, liver damage and death.