ISLAMABAD: Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, a minority MNA from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), on Monday submitted a constitutional amendment bill in the National Assembly Secretariat to prevent the sale of alcohol in the name of non-Muslims.
Talking to reporters outside the Parliament House, he said that usage of liquor is considered as harmful in all societies and all religions demand their followers to avoid it. He termed the Sindh High Court’s decision to ban wine shops across the province a positive step. “Honorable Supreme Court also observed that none should give the impression that the court has allowed sale of wine,” he emphasized.
Dr Vankwani, who also heads Pakistan Hindu Council, mentions the Article 37 of the constitution, which urges the promotion of social justice and eradication of social evils. This is the responsibility of the state to prevent the consumption of alcoholic liquor otherwise than for medicinal and, in the case of non-Muslims, religious purposes. “All the religions existing in Pakistan are agreed that none of any religion is allowing the consumption of alcoholic liquor for the religious purposes,” he said, while mentioning the religious teachings of different religions.
“Please let me know any single religion who asks the followers to consume the alcohol on the occasions of religious festivals,” he asked.
The lawmaker was of the view that the use of alcohol in the name of non-Muslims is blasphemy and one of the major causes for the non-Muslims to face defamation, agony, insult, and discrimination.
He urged that alcohol is restricted in different Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Bangladesh, and Sudan, adding that some Muslim countries like the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Central Asian states allow wine shops, but not in the name of non-Muslims.
“If the purpose to allow the wine shops is the collection of revenue, then why this permission is not considered for all citizens regardless of religion, to collect the revenue on larger scale,” he said.
To a question, he said that there are as many as 161 wine shops in Sindh. “Recently, a new wine shop is opened in the Nooriabad adjacent to the Super Highway,” he said, adding that there is zero population of non-Muslims in the area. Due to the misuse of the Clause 37(h), the wine shops in the country are opened 365 days in the year, he regretted. “This is also the reason for amendment of the said clause of Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” he concluded, while appealing to all segments of the society to support the bill.