Revering Ramazan: 2 arrested for eating in public, 3 fined for serving food

Published: August 5, 2011

MAKING ADJUSTMENTS: Dhabas at Lorry Adda and McLeod Road put curtains around their customers as they take lunch. PHOTO: EXPRESS/IJAZ MAHMOOD

RAHIM YAR KHAN/SARGODHA: 

Two men were arrested in Sargodha on Thursday on charges of eating in public places. Cases were registered against three men for serving food at their restaurants.

Tehsildar Malik Saleem Awan arrested Usman and Abdul Shakoor for eating in public during raids on restaurants in Sillanwali. Mohsin Waqas, the restaurant owner, was fined Rs3,000 for serving food during fasting hours. Cases were also registered against Tariq Mehmood and Muhammad Naeem after Sillanwali police found the two serving food at their roadside stalls.

Sargodha DCO Azam Mahmood on Thursday issued directives for district administration to ensure implementation of the Ihtaram Ramazan Ordinance of 1981. The ordinance prohibits eating and smoking at public places. Restaurants are not allowed to serve food after sehar and before iftar. Cafeterias and restaurants in hospitals, railway stations and bus stands are exempt under the ordinance. Violation of the ordinance can be punished with a fine and a maximum of three-month prison term. Under the ordinance, theatres and cinemas can open for three hours a day after the iftar.

Samples sent for laboratory examination

Samples of food items being sold at a Khanpur Ramazan Bazaar were sent to Food Laboratory on orders of Provincial Prisons Minister Muhammad Iqbal Channar. Earlier, Channar expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of vegetable oil available at the bazaar. He directed the administration to immediately replace the stock with better-quality oil.

Channar also reprimanded Assistant Commissioner Ameen Owaisi and Tehsil Municipal Officer Ijaz Ateeq for poor sanitation at the bazaars. AC Owaisi said he had taken charge of the office only five days ago and was not aware of the situation. Talking to the media after the visit, Channar said the government was ensuring proper monitoring of prices and quality of food items at Ramazan Bazaars. He directed Market Committee Administrator Rao Muhammad Zafar, PML-N workers Rao Waseem and Abdullah Qureshi to visit the bazaar and report any irregularities to him every day.  Channar also visited Ramazan Bazaars in Bahawalpur.

Talking to The Express Tribune, several Sadiqabad residents complained that all essential items were not available at the Ramazan Bazaars. They said most vendors did not bother about displaying price lists and were charging more than prices set by the government. A food inspector said they were monitoring prices and quality of items. About non-availability of essential items, he said only the items prescribed by the government were available at the bazaars.

Residents of Nowshera also complained about high prices at the only Ramazan Bazaar in the city. They said no separate arrangements were made for a bazaar. “The fruit and vegetable shops in the city have been given the status of Ramazan Bazaar,” they said. They alleged that there had been no effort by price control magistrates to monitor prices at these shops.  Price magistrates said the tehsil municipal officers were responsible for monitoring prices at these shops.

‘No iftar arrangements in Sadiqabad’

No arrangements have been made by Sadiqabad district administration to serve iftar at the Wheat Market and Tableegi Markaz so far. The two sites were identified by the provincial government for establishment of dastarkhwans to provide free-of-charge iftar. Several residents have complained that iftar arrangements are made at Tableegi Markaz every year by citizens on self-help basis. They said it appeared that the administration had selected the Markaz as its Dastarkhwan point to claim credit for private charity.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2011.

Reader Comments (57)

  • pardesi
    Aug 5, 2011 - 12:23PM

    What’s wrong with eating? Will god become angry if you eat? Is it mandatory for all muslims to fast? People having diabates cannot fast. Its cruel on them. In India there are many muslims who do not fast. It should be personal choice, not a state sponsored diktat.

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  • Faraan Khan
    Aug 5, 2011 - 12:42PM

    @Pardesi
    islam is not about personal choice, farz is farz and you have to fulfill it no matter what!! those who have diabetes should eat privately , not publicly!! moreover its a law and you have to obey the law!!

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  • Zafar
    Aug 5, 2011 - 12:47PM

    There it goes … In the memories of Great AH Zia …

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  • Saif
    Aug 5, 2011 - 12:48PM

    @pardesi: fasting is more than a personal choice, its a communal effort and brings about harmony and values for a Muslim society as a whole.., if someone has health issues, yes they can be exempted but, only the very compelling cases.
    As for serving food, yes the fine was correctly implied in my view because, food items must be served behind a veil or wall so as to avoid it being seen by the passers by who are fasting..!

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  • Whoever!
    Aug 5, 2011 - 12:50PM

    People who dont want to fast, will not regardless of whether restaurants are open or not.
    And one cannot force people to fast against their will.. the whole purpose of fasting is lost if you force people! it has to be from within!

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  • Agha
    Aug 5, 2011 - 12:50PM

    Bloody nonsense as usual

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  • Aug 5, 2011 - 12:55PM

    There’s nothing wrong with eating in public because there are many instances of when muslims cannot fast- diabetes, low blood pressure, and other maladies out there can prevent a muslim from fasting. There are minorities and they do not fast.You shouldn’t arrest people for eating; CONTROL your hunger and your anger, thats what Ramadan is all about. What are you going to do if you have to go abroad and everyone around you is eating? you can’t tell people to stop because you are fasting!

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  • Javeria Mahmood
    Aug 5, 2011 - 1:32PM

    This is the height of cruelty. Nobody is bound to fast. It is Allah’s and the man’s matter. Actually police must be collecting their Eidi by asserting such poor people.

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  • Sarah
    Aug 5, 2011 - 1:44PM

    I think if you are such a pathetic muslim that you feel weak during fast when someone else is eating then you might as well not be fasting. Hypocrites!!!

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  • Sanity
    Aug 5, 2011 - 1:53PM

    I remember going to the most elite University at Karachi – the one near the sea side at Karachi. Over there, the cafeteria/restaurant remained operational during Ramzaan and it catered to the high-fashion girls who made it a point to order snacks during the day to make a statement about their biological calendar (suggesting publicly that they are on their period) and how superior they are from the boys! Not only did I find it pathetic, I wish someone would put an end to this!!

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  • Dr Imran Ahmed
    Aug 5, 2011 - 1:54PM

    As usual the Pakistani Ummah has got its priorities wrong. Ramzan is about serenity, contemplation of Allah’s greatness, kindness and generosity to fellow creatures as well as about starving yourself.

    Those who do not wish to fast should be tolerated. As Emme says we need to control our hunger AND our anger.

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  • Asad
    Aug 5, 2011 - 1:54PM

    @Emme

    When Pakistanis or Muslims go abroad, they obey the rules of the west. They never wrap up a European/American Woman who is in a Bikini. They never tell anyone not to eat during Ramadhan.

    By the same rule, Pakistan is a Muslim Country and hence it will have its laws that conform to Islamic values. The Minorities and Muslims who are not fasting (due to health reasons) should respect that law and not eat in the public.

    @Pardesi

    It is indeed mandatory on all able and healthy muslims to fast. Fasting in Ramadhan is one of the five pillars of Islam. So Pakistan Being a muslim country is absolutely right to ban public eating during the fating times in Ramadhan. Similar to the European Countries Banning the Veil!! If they apply anti islamic laws, its their right to make their laws , if we apply Islamic teachings in our laws, its called extremism!!!

    Be fair and ponder over it. As a muslim majority country we have the RIGHT to make our laws in conformance with Islamic rules and all people living in the land should obey the law of the land!!

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  • Sharq
    Aug 5, 2011 - 2:02PM

    @faraan khan @Saif
    No where in any religious literature does it say that you are forced to do anything or that you should force someone else to do as you believe.
    Go educate yourselves before trying to choke others with your ignorant BS.

    Doesnt matter if someone has diabetes or is not of the same religion as the majority. If I choose not to fast I should have that option. Just because you cannot look the other way and mind your own business does not make it everyone else’s problem or ok for others to be arrested/fined. Its an antiquated law that no longer applies.

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  • Zohaib
    Aug 5, 2011 - 2:03PM

    This is hilarious. Seriously, being arrested for eating and serving food? :D What next…being fined for breathing? :S Those are fasting have no self control?Recommend

  • Saif
    Aug 5, 2011 - 2:10PM

    @Emme: But certain rules can be applied in a nation where people are dominantly muslims.., there is a rule for mutual benefit between the people who fast and those who cant or dont.., during ramadan, food and beverages should be supplied discreetly.., inside a shop or restaurant not in open or semi-open environments where people outside can see you!!!

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  • MUNIB
    Aug 5, 2011 - 2:19PM

    Taliban Republic of Pakistan

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  • Noble Tufail
    Aug 5, 2011 - 2:32PM

    Respect yes .. but not at the cost of human freedom. if one chooses not to eat ..okay .. but why on earth fasting man can control others eating pattern??

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  • popy
    Aug 5, 2011 - 2:32PM

    @Faraan Khan:
    is that mean only via law, u are able make this, an not by their own wish.???, seems its blind religion-ism than………

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  • Noble Tufail
    Aug 5, 2011 - 2:33PM

    … respect is always earned .. cannot be ensured on gun point!!

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  • Javed
    Aug 5, 2011 - 2:58PM

    Since when Religion became a matter of Govt? I thought Islam is all about the man and his maker? A direct, 1-2-1 relation?

    If someone want to eat, let them simply do. Ramadan or not. How can you trample upon fundamental human right?

    I live in London and to fast or not is my choice. In fact that is what makes my religious choice correct one. I choose freely.

    Stop making nautanki of Islam by such silly acts.

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  • Aug 5, 2011 - 3:03PM

    Saif, What harmony and social values are there in Pakistan to boast about. It is only black marketing of essential items during Ramadan. It is barbaric to put conditions on eating by people. Why not put same conditions on going to toilets and living in your bedroom. I am in Jedda, here the people sleep throughout the day and eat throughout night and finally what they get is diseases, gastric problems, obesity etc. The poor people who do manual and physical works should eat now and then during the daytime or otherwise the enzymes in the stomach will cause gastric ulcerRecommend

  • Darymple
    Aug 5, 2011 - 3:03PM

    preposterous!Recommend

  • waqqas iftikhar
    Aug 5, 2011 - 3:13PM

    preposterious…..why are zia era draconian laws still part of the constitution ?

    if you are bothered by people eating in public then you’ve got a bigger problem….you just fast because of communal pressure not because you want to…..religion is personal lets keep it that way…Recommend

  • 10th
    Aug 5, 2011 - 3:21PM

    I think it’s about time we remove the white from the Pakistan flag. We, on an individual as well as state level, have no tolerance or consideration for the minorities.

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  • Cynical
    Aug 5, 2011 - 3:43PM

    ‘Wearing religion on one’s sleeves’ That’s what it is.
    Also it seems Muslim sentiments are very brittle and always on the edge.
    I don’t think God really give care whether I fast or not.
    .Recommend

  • Adnan
    Aug 5, 2011 - 4:05PM

    What about the hundreds of Hindus and Christians in Pakistan? They should not get any food for a whole month cause Muslims are fasting?? What about the Muslims down with diseases?

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  • Tariq
    Aug 5, 2011 - 4:10PM

    Fasting is about self control. Those who claim that watching others eat makes them feel insulted or agitated etc are missing the basic point. They need to exercise control, that is the whole purpose. Secondly, Allah is said to be all knowing and most intelligent. To think that he would not distinguish between a pious act of choice, and something done merely out of fear of the law is foolish. People should fear Allah not the law.

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  • rk singh
    Aug 5, 2011 - 5:05PM

    religion at the muzzle of a gun? No thanks.

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  • faraz
    Aug 5, 2011 - 5:05PM

    There is no such compulsion in Quran or Hadees to prevent people from not eating in Ramzan. This law is part of Zia’s dark legacy

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  • rk singh
    Aug 5, 2011 - 5:08PM

    @ Emme

    I am sure when enough muslims populate europe, they will demand banning food being sold in private, like they do in Pakistan.

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  • Aug 5, 2011 - 5:46PM

    Do we have a history of arresting people like this before?

    Why can’t we let Religion be a personal choice? Why are we so afraid of things when we are already living in an ISLAMIC REPUBLIC?Recommend

  • Pagall
    Aug 5, 2011 - 6:27PM

    @pardesi:
    Sir there are certain manners, and laws every1 should follow.
    India isn’t a Muslim country … btw

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  • Jamel
    Aug 5, 2011 - 7:59PM

    Ramzan (or is it Ramadhan) saved. Thank god.

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  • goggi
    Aug 5, 2011 - 8:28PM

    After Kalama Shahada the next pillar of Islam is Namaz. Without performing Namaz Roza is just a faka kashi. But the majority of male Muslims are loitering on the roads or sitting in their air-con shops or offices, instead of going to the masjid for their prayers, at least for the Juma prayer on Friday……………………………Then they should arrest and fine all these Be-Namazi citizens (including themselves!!!!) who do not perform Namaz in the mosques…………………..

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  • malik
    Aug 5, 2011 - 9:00PM

    Cmon..this is not strictly fasting…actually, what we do is..just skip a breakfast…or a meal….evening we always overcompensate by gorging on food….

    if a Muslim can’t even a skip a single meal for the sake of God…he surely needs to be arrested…

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  • Saif
    Aug 5, 2011 - 10:12PM

    @Javed: the notion where government and religion collide has been misunderstood my muslims and non-muslims alike for too long..
    take a long look back to when islamic empire was on a rise..
    that was due to the governance of muslims being subject to ethics and laws that islam teaches.. and those laws have set a parameter for all aspects of human life..
    the very fact that muslims no longer want to be governed by religion and want it to be solely a private matter, proves, why muslims are into disarray…
    islam has certain elements that are highly personal for a muslim and certain elements that require communal action and have similar effects..

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  • Saif
    Aug 5, 2011 - 10:20PM

    @Salman Khan:
    i was trying to make the simple point that, in a country that is dominantly muslim, it is understood that, most of the people will fast..
    for people who “CANNOT” fast, its probably a compulsion and their provisions should be provided throughout the day (only discreetly and not in open environments)
    for people who “DO NOT” fast, they know its a sin and the people and the govt do not have to accommodate the convenience of people who deliberately dont fast (unless, they are non-muslim minorities)..
    its a very simple equation which goes completely against the concept of freedom, and rightfully so because islam does not teach us freedom in the first place, it teaches us obedience and discipline..!

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  • White Russian
    Aug 5, 2011 - 10:26PM

    Instead of hiding behind the phrases like “In Islam it is like this” and “in Islam it is like that”, why do not you guys simply say that you are utterly against the personal freedoms of others. If I choose not to fast, I am not doing any harm to anybody, and it should never be a problem. Fast, if you want for the rest of your life, but please stop being self proclaimed enforcers of ritualistic piety unto others. I do not forcedly prevent others from fasting. Please do not forcedly coerce me into fasting.

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  • antony
    Aug 5, 2011 - 10:53PM

    Disgusting law ..Eating is a primary human function and to arrest some one eating in restaurant is cruel act against humanity .. Somebody tell me how could any non muslim respect muslim rituals outside pakistan if you guys go against humane values .

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  • Roflcopter
    Aug 5, 2011 - 11:49PM

    They deserve it

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  • Aslam
    Aug 6, 2011 - 1:31AM

    Arresting innocent people for eating food in public? Let people decide how they want to observe religion Govt./people should not have any role in enforcing religious values. Recommend

  • SS
    Aug 6, 2011 - 1:35AM

    You guys arguing here are so dumb! can’t you guys read!! The law does not make is mandatory for everyone to fast, it just prohibits people from eating and drinking in public to respect the people that are fasting! WTH is wrong with you guys saying that muslims enforce their rules over others and all?? That is utter and complete BS! Ask the hindus and christians of pakistan if they have been fasting? NO right? there we go. Some of you people are so ignorant it shames me to be under the same biological classification of you idiots. And yes the children, the elderly and the sickly are exempt from fasting if health does not allow ….. so where is the forcing factor in here? no one is forcing things in Islam. its these people that interpret things wrong and its the states that a forcing such rules not the religion.

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  • Cautious
    Aug 6, 2011 - 2:23AM

    No matter where you go in the World there is never a shortage of people who think it’s their duty to tell you how to behave — in Pakistan they happen to carry guns. I have never understood how someone can believe that you can coerce/threaten someone into being holy – it’s an overtly dumb concept.

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  • What Ever!
    Aug 6, 2011 - 5:23AM

    I don’t understand why people have an issue with things done on “self-help” basis.
    These acts should be appreciated cuz people are moved to take action on their own. Instead they’re portrayed as if the people are helpless and don’t have any choice but to do these acts on “self-help basis”. which is apparently a bad thing. because the GOVERNMENT should be doing everything for the people and the country and the people themselves should not have to do anything.
    patheticRecommend

  • Cautious
    Aug 6, 2011 - 6:13AM

    @SS

    You guys arguing here are so dumb!
    can’t you guys read!! The law does not
    make is mandatory for everyone to
    fast, it just prohibits people from
    eating and drinking in public to
    respect the people that are fasting!
    WTH is wrong with you guys saying that
    muslims enforce their rules over
    others and all?? That is utter and
    complete BS!

    So because your fasting I can’t eat in public — that about sum it up. If that’s not Muslims enforcing their rule over others then what is it? If you want to fast that’s fine — but you should have nothing to say about where I eat, what I eat or when I eat.

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  • Aug 6, 2011 - 8:38AM

    This is not the first piece of absurdity Pakistanis have had to reckon with, and it’s certainly not going to be the last. Government and the mullah inc. has done a tremendous job turning a peaceful religion into an in-your-face affair.

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  • hak
    Aug 6, 2011 - 9:15AM

    I’m a Malaysian,been living here in Pakistan for abt 12 yrs now. In Malaysia it is an OFFENCEs if a muslim eat n drink in public area during Ramadan .Where u can be fine abt RM300(if m not mistaken).It was impose so that other muslim who could not fast (due to illness etc) should respect the holy month.

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  • hak
    Aug 6, 2011 - 9:23AM

    @ Adnan

    Abt 40% of Malaysian population r NON Muslim.During Ramadan ths ppl can open restaurants n eat in public areas w/out any prob.So the Pakistani religious dept should adopt the same.

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  • White Russian
    Aug 6, 2011 - 10:55AM

    If I want to put my food or beverage in my own private mouth, how it endangers the religion of others?

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  • Rizwan Takkhar
    Aug 6, 2011 - 12:35PM

    A 10th grade student of mine once pointed out, “A pious Muslim is not a man who spends his life in a mosque hidden from sin, but a man who spends all his time among ‘sinners’ but refrains from taking part in their activities.”

    Heh. For all the pious Muslims posting here and feeding this bull to a few foreign posters about how Pakistan is a Muslim country and Islamic Law should prevail,

    Fix your priorities and be an activist for issues that actually affect the lives of millions in Pakistan. Eating publicly in Ramadan affects NO ONE.

    If fasting means for you, keeping all food out of sight, you have seriously got it wrong. It’s ABSTINENCE from food, water and evil deeds, not HIDING. There’s a world of difference. My parents can’t fast because of their health conditions but I do. They eat in front of me. Should I report them to the police too?

    Oh wait, the law is on eating in public! Newsflash, it’s a man-made law. Can we insecure Muslims let people live their lives once and for all?

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  • Shehryar
    Aug 6, 2011 - 1:15PM

    There is surely no stopping from eating during ramadan. people who may be suffering from any ailment are allowed to eat or anyone within their limits. Why you need to go in public and show off to public that you aint fasting wen the population in general is fasting. Anti-social Much.?

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  • Dr Imran Ahmed
    Aug 6, 2011 - 11:44PM

    These guys were eating in a restaurant. A restaurant is an enclosed space. The only way you would catch people eating in a restaurant and arrest them for eating “in public” is if you deliberately step into the restaurant and look for people who are tempting the pious believers.

    I fast too, if I wished to avoid temptation I would not go looking for food in a restaurant.

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  • Cynical
    Aug 7, 2011 - 1:37PM

    @Dr Imran Ahmed

    Well said, Doc. Thank you.

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  • To be or not to be
    Aug 8, 2011 - 2:28AM

    Pakistan has many smokers, tabaco and paan ( beetle leaf) eater. Wonder how they handle Ramadan.

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  • Dr Imran Ahmed
    Aug 8, 2011 - 9:09PM

    @To be or not to be From personal experience – with great fortitude.

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  • M.Baqir Ali
    Aug 9, 2011 - 12:56AM

    we have to clean our society and our laws from ziaism

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  • locco
    Aug 9, 2011 - 2:41AM

    Really strange to read all these fanatic posts about a minor issue such as eating in public.

    Don´t you really have any bigger problems there in Pakistan? Such as water and electricity shortages? Hungry children? Floods?

    And by the way, no one here in Austria is prohibited to wear the veil, unless they go to public (government) offices.

    Really sad to see where this country has gone…

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