At least 21 people have died and 24 others are hospitalized after consuming clandestinely-made alcohol in Faisalabad, a city in Pakistan's eastern Punyab province, police said Sunday.

The majority of the victims drank the alcohol on Thursday at a private party organized by a group of friends to celebrate the birth of a son, a police spokesman told the Express Tribune.

Four suspected distributors of the tainted alcohol have been arrested, the private Geo TV television network reported, citing officials.

The first deaths occurred Thursday night.

Many of the dead and sick are residents of Warispura, a Christian neighborhood in Faisalabad, although the majority of the names on the list of victims provided by the authorities are those of Muslims and only a few appear to be Christians, press reports said.

This type of tragedy occurs occasionally in Pakistan, which is officially an Islamic republic where the law permits only non-Muslims to buy and consume alcohol, and non-Muslims constitute only slightly more than 3 percent of the population.

However, a number of Muslims drink alcoholic beverages in private. EFE