KARACHI: Pakistan’s Sindh High Court today ordered that all liquor shops be shut for a month and asked the government to come up with a proper plan to regularise its sale in the southern province.
The Sindh High Court (SHC) in Karachi issued the directive while hearing a petition filed by the ruling PML-N party’s minority lawmaker Ramesh Kumar Vankwani.
Sale of alcohol is banned in Muslim-majority Pakistan but liquor shops operate in Sindh, apparently for minorities. However, Vankwani told the court that alcohol was being wrongfully sold in the name of minorities.
The court headed by SHC Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah ordered the provincial government to make a strategy for the sale of alcohol, while ordering to shut down the shops.
The court also rejected the report submitted by Sindh Director General (DG) Excise Police and directed the department to present a detailed report on the sale of liquor and procedure to issue license for wine shops. The court ordered that all liquor shops be shut until the submission of the report. It also gave three days to the Sindh government to devise and submit a mechanism regarding issuance of permits to wine shops.
The issue of liquor shops has been in limelight since October last year when Shah ordered closure of all shops in Sindh after various minority leaders including from Christian, Hindu and Sikh communities told the court that drinking of alcohol was not a mandatory part of their faith.
Shah had observed that there was no provision under Section 17 of the Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order, 1979, which allowed granting of licenses to liquor shops to sell alcoholic beverages throughout the year. The order was set aside by the Supreme Court which also asked the SHC to hold fresh hearing into the case. The SC had allowed opening of liquor shops pending a decision by the SHC.