A parliamentary panel had disapproved a bill proposed last month which sought a ban on the distribution of liquor by Christians, Hindus, Jews and Ahmedis in Pakistan.
Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Dr Ramesh Kumar said alcohol is strictly forbidden according to the teachings of the Shrimad Baghwat Piran – a Hindu holy book, while also emphasising that decision makers (MNAs) or other higher-ups in the community are prohibited to drink under any circumstances.
“Sale, production, importation and transportation of alcoholic beverages in Pakistan occurred under the banner of minorities which is strongly offensive and insulting,” Dr Ramesh, who is also patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council, said.
Ramesh went on to call for either a complete ban on the business of alcohol in Pakistan or that it should be open for all, irrespective of religion.
Dr Ramesh requested Mahmood Bashir Virk, chairman of the National Assembly standing committee, to reconsider the bill, moved by MNA Asiya Nasir, for the best interest of Pakistani society.
“This bill will earn international shame for Pakistan,” remarked Mahmood Bashir Virk, when he disapproved this bill.
However, Dr Ramesh and MNA Asiya Nasir refused to withdraw the bill with Nasir walking out of the meeting to record her protest.
“I’m saddened and shocked today,” said Nasir after the committee rejected the bill. “I strongly stand by my stance. I will introduce another amended bill before Parliament,” she told The Express Tribune.
Earlier this year, Chairman Council of the Islamic Ideology Muhammad Khan Sherani with fifteen other lawmakers moved the bill into Parliament.
Sixteen lawmakers wanted amendments in Article 37 of the Constitution. Five non-Muslims, including a Christian MNA Asiya Nasir and Hindu MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar, also supported this bill.