Supreme Court on Wednesday directed all the provincial governments to pass legislation for banning sheesha smoking.
A two-judge bench of apex court, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial sought reply from federal and provincial governments over Sheesha Café Association’s plea against the ban.
DHA officials destroy more than 800 hookahs
During the hearing, Deputy Attorney General Sohail Mahmood appeared on behalf of the federal government and sought time to file reply over the association’s application. The hearing of case was adjourned for two months.
Meanwhile, Assistant Additional Advocate Mudassir Khalid Abbasi on behalf of Punjab police, submitted a report, wherein it stated that offences against sheesha smokers are non-cognisable; therefore, police cannot take direct action in the matter.
The Punjab police has requested the home secretary to direct all District Coordination Officers (DCOs) throughout the province to assist the police in the registration of cases in compliance of the court’s order, said the reply.
The reply further reveals that 177 cases have been registered so far in Punjab in connection with the sheesha smoking ban and 287 persons were arrested.
It is further stated that cases against sheesha smokers are non-cognisable and cases are registered either under Section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code subsequent to a notification under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Fare thee well, sheesha
The report also states that the Punjab Prohibition of Sheesha Smoking Bill 2014 is pending in the provincial assembly.
According to the bill, a draft of which was submitted before the bench, no person individually or collectively shall manufacture, sell, use or import or in any manner engage himself in sheesha smoking. Any offence committed under the Act shall be non-bailable.
The bill states that the trend has been gaining currency with each passing day. “Our youth are enjoying and using hard as well as soft drugs in Sheesha cafes. Young women are also not an exception to this,” it said.
The bill stated that no planning seems to have been undertaken to curb this menace. The owners of such establishments have been facilitating the practice, the bill read.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2016.
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