Christians call for a complete ban on liquor business in the country. In this regard, Christians staged a protest in front of the Lahore Press Club on January 14, Saturday, 2017. Local Christians assembled and joined voices against deleterious business. Christians demanded a complete ban on alcohol production in the country.
This protest was organized by Pakistan Minorities Unity Council (PMUC), and was attended by several church leaders, political activists and representatives of NGOs. The protesters were holding placards and banners calling for an end to legal cover for alcohol business in the country. They chanted slogans, “Put complete ban on production and sale of alcohol in Islamic Republic of Pakistan” and “consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Islam and Christianity.”
Prominent local Christian leaders who had participated in this protest included Tahir Vicky, Akhtar Bhatti, Tariq Chaman, Zeba Gill, Albert David, Nadeem Sahotra, Karamat Ilyas Chaudhry, Samuel Sardar Saroya, Arif Chaudhry and Samuel Khokhar.
The demanded a punishment for those involved in the business saying at least: “Five year prison sentence for those who drink and sale alcohol.” The protesters urged the Islamic clerics to uphold their cause saying that the “Muslim religious leaders shall support ban on alcohol.”
Christians and other participants of the protest demanded that the permits issued to non-Muslims must all be revoked. “Ban permits to allow Christians to purchase liquor,” they demanded. The assembly demanded that the government must take steps to discourage the consumption of alcohol. They urged the federal and provincial governments to slap a ban on the sale and purchase of liquor.
Recent incidents of deaths caused by consumption of toxic liquor have sparked widespread indignation among the Christian community. On Christmas Eve, more than 150 people almost all of them Christians were seriously affected by tainted alcohol consumption. At least 50 people died as a result of the tainted liquor consumption.
DPO Toba Tek Singh, Usman Akram Gondal while addressing a press conference, said that the tragedy had unfolded because the victims had consumed aftershave lotion instead of liquor. He further briefed the media about the raids being carried out in this connection. He said that police is making all out efforts in order to hook the perpetrators, revealing further that the prime suspect in this case, namely Sawan Masih is among five suspects who have already been arrested.
In another similar incident, five Christians died after drinking methylated spirit in Peshawar. The deceased and others affected consumed adulterated methylated spirit. The incident took place in Sawati Gate neighborhood, when six Christians were critically affected by the tainted alcohol. Consequently, five perished while one survived.
Experts say that methylated spirit contains 80 per cent alcohol, 10 per cent ethyl, pyridine and aldehyde, which makes it poisonous. Methylated spirit is used by poor people mostly Christians, due to its low price and easy availability. Experts warned that methylated spirit contained toxic elements known to kill consumers.