Booze, Banned and Often Toxic, Is Killing in Pakistan

Bad liquor kills at least 27 during Eid celebrations
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2014 11:54 AM CDT
Booze, Banned and Often Toxic, Is Killing in Pakistan
Pakistani officers crush bottles of alcohol during a ceremony to mark International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, in Lahore, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 26, 2012.   (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

For many of us, knocking back a drink or four while hanging around with family during holidays is pretty customary. In Pakistan, which has been dry since 1977, it's not only illegal, it's proving quite deadly. As the Washington Post reports, 21 people in Karachi died in a single day this week after drinking tainted alcohol, courtesy of the nation's thriving and unregulated bootlegging industry. Eight others have since succumbed, Dawn adds, pushing the toll to 29 as the nation celebrates Eid. It's the worst spike in booze-related deaths in seven years. Nineteen others died in the area last week.

Cops have arrested three suspects, though it's not clear if the deaths all stem from the same batch. Police have also raided illegal booze factories and seized "katchi sharab", adds Dawn—basically Pakistani moonshine, which is often contaminated with methanol. Such a rash of deaths is becoming disturbingly common: The Post notes 13 who died in Rawalpindi in June and two incidents last year that killed at least 30. (More alcohol stories.)

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