Liquor store in Thatta to be sealed

Wine shop reportedly operating near schools, mosques

Our Correspondent September 28, 2016
Wine shop reportedly operating near schools, mosques. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered on Wednesday the authorities to seal a 'wine shop' being operated in a Muslim-majority locality of Thatta.

SHC Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, who headed the division bench, fixed the matter for hearing on October 5.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by a resident of Thatta, Irfan Bikak, who had approached the SHC against the excise and taxation department and Thatta police for allegedly failing to close a wine shop [liquor store] in a Muslim-majority locality.

The petitioner said the Royal Wine Shop was opened in a locality where the majority residents are not non-Muslims, as provided in the laws governing the business. He maintained that there are many mosques and schools in the area, thus open sale of liquor shouldn’t  be allowed.

Bikak had alleged in his petition that the wine shop is owned by excise minister Mukesh Chawla, adding that the authorities are not acting against the shop due to his influence. On September 8, the bench had directed Thatta SHO Inspector Abdul Jabbar to file a detailed report along with a map showing the wine shop, the mosques' distances and the voters list of the vicinity.

The official was further directed to clearly mention in his report if there is any school, graveyard and imambargah in the area, adding that "if so, what is the exact aerial distance between the wine shop and the other places".

During Wednesday's proceedings, SHO Jabbar filed the report in compliance with the court's previous order.

The report stated that several schools and mosques are situated close by.

The two-judge bench took the SHO's report on record. The lawyer for the Royal Wine Shop requested for time to go through the report.

Directing the additional advocate-general to submit a copy of the report to the wine shop's lawyer, the chief justice ordered, "In the circumstances, let the wine shop be sealed forthwith." The next hearing is fixed on October 5.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2016.


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