People who smoke, eat openly during Ramazan face 3-month imprisonment

Under the proposed law hotels violating sanctity of Ramazan will be fined Rs25,000


Sehrish Wasif May 11, 2017
Praying before the family sits down to break their Ramazan fast. PHOTO: NEW YORK TIMES

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs on Wednesday unanimously approved the Ehtram-e-Ramazan (Amendment) Bill, 2017 under which fine for the hotel owners – violating the Ehtram-e-Ramazan Ordinance, 1981 – has been increased from Rs500 to Rs25,000.

People who will smoke or eat openly during Ramazan will be fined Rs500 along with 3-month imprisonment. TV channels or cinema houses that violate the law will be fined Rs500,000 or more.

The amendment bill was introduced by Senator Tanveer Khan in the Senate sitting held on January 16 and was referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs for further consideration.

During the meeting, Tanveer requested the committee to take strict action against people who violate the law during Ramazan. Earlier the committee members suggested closing down cinema houses for three hours early in the morning and later for three hours after Iftar during Ramazan.

Minister of State for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony Pir Amin Ul Hasnat Shah suggested that all the cinema houses across the country should remain closed throughout the holy month.

Issues related to Ruet-e-Hilal committee

Discussing the issues pertaining to Ruet-e-Hilal committee, the committee’s chairman Senator Hafiz Hamdullah urged the ministry to resolve the issue of moon sighting across the country. The ministry’s officials told the senator that they had discussed the issue with all the relevant provincial departments.

Government plans top Ruet-e-Hilal body meeting in Peshawar

It was suggested that the term of Ruet-e-Hilal committee should be made four years at federal, provincial and district levels. The committee should have two representatives each from all provinces and one representative each from federal capital, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

It was also suggested that directors general of Met Office and the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) as well as a representative from the ministry be also made part of the moon-sighting panel.

Pir Amin Ul Hasnat Shah informed the committee that the federal government had not allocated any dedicated budget for the Ruet-e-Hilal committee due to which its chairman along with its members were working without salary and perks since the committee was constituted in 1974.

He said several times the Ministry of Religious Affairs had raised this issue at various levels and forums but so far no one had paid any heed to it.

Letter to ministry: Stop Met predictions on moon sighting: Mufti Muneeb

“They believe that the role of the committee is not much as it only functions three to four times throughout the year. They forget that this committee has a major role to play as it announces most important religious events for the entire nation,” he said.

Shah said even when the chairman and committee members travel to other city on an official visit they only get air ticket and stay at a 2-star hotel. “They do not get any TA/DA. Meanwhile, they also do not have money to load credit in their cell phones to do office work,” he added.

He said 26 members of the committee are performing their duties under chairman Mufti Munibur Rehman, who has been performing his duties for the past 15 years.

The minister said currently there was no criterion for appointing/selecting a member for the committee. “Right now whoever applies for the membership becomes a member,” he said.

Shah suggested reducing the number of the committee members from 26 to 9. “The less the number of members, the easier it will be for the federal government to allocate budget for their salaries,” he said.

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COMMENTS (22)

Reda | 2 years ago | Reply | Recommend Inspiring story there. What happened after? Take care!wholesale football jerseys
Andrew | 3 years ago | Reply | Recommend There quite conveniently isn't any mention of the penalty of overpricing and low quality products. It seems that is okay to openly cheat, lie and extort not to mention charge exorbitant rates for almost anything and everything with no mention of any sort of penalty but it is a crime to eat in public. I agree that eating is public is being disrespectful to the those who are fasting but why isn't there any mention of penalizing those who charge over and above the normal rates in the Holy Month of Ramadan. Where is the justice and fairness in that. The question that comes to my mind first and foremost is what to do if a person isn't well and is about to pass out. I suppose we could be imprisoned for trying to help that person or may be the person is going to be imprisoned for accepting the timely help. Why are the laws of this land only created to curtail freedom of speech and criticism or to penalize those already oppressed further.
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