Bakhtawar criticises law forbidding public eating during Ramazan, says 'this is not Islam'

Published: May 12, 2017
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Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM

Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM

Perturbed by legislation making eating in public during Ramazan a jailable offence, Bakhtawar Bhutto took to Twitter to condemn the rule.

The daughter of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto said the rule is not consistent with Islam as scores of people will die of dehydration, fearing punishment from the authorities.

“People are going to die from heat stroke and dehydration with this ridiculous law. Not everyone is able. This is not Islam,” she wrote.

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 smoke, eat openly during Ramazan face 3-month imprisonment

People who smoke or eat in public during Ramazan can be fined Rs500 and imprisoned for up to three months. TV channels or cinema houses that violate the law will be fined Rs500,000 or more.

Soon after Bakhtawar posted her tweet about the law, it received mixed opinions from the social media users.

While many lauded her for speaking up against the rule, others mocked her and the PPP Sindh government for their ‘indifference’ towards poverty.

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Reader Comments (29)

  • Jamal
    May 12, 2017 - 3:02PM

    Bakhtawar lives in UAE and they have this law too. How about she criticize them too?

    Also, her criticism shows she knows nothing about Islam.Recommend

  • MAK
    May 12, 2017 - 3:13PM

    Now Bakhtawar will ‘teach’ us what is Islam !Recommend

  • karachiite
    May 12, 2017 - 3:25PM

    if your ’emaan’ is so weak that your fast is disturbed by someone else eating or drinking by choice, then really, your fast is of no use. self control over worldly temptations despite being available is the essence of Ramadan.Recommend

  • Jadugar
    May 12, 2017 - 4:28PM

    I agree with Bakhtawar, Really, religious practises should be personal and not forced on society. Muslims who Fast in the West do not make any such demands on others, To each its own.Recommend

  • Faisal
    May 12, 2017 - 5:09PM

    Bakhtawar, where you live in Dubai, there is an identical rule. Pls. don’t offend your hosts like this. Will you happily live in Iran if Dubai were to ask you to leave? Recommend

  • Ann
    May 12, 2017 - 6:17PM

    For a change she actually spoke good. Recommend

  • Nadir Sadiq
    May 12, 2017 - 7:51PM

    This law is totally un-islamic, The govt is an extension of extremist mullahs, has no moral courage to stand against them. I think PPP and PTI should unite to turn this bill down.Recommend

  • Farooq Ahmed
    May 12, 2017 - 8:06PM

    There should be no bar on anyone correcting a misinterpretation or misunderstanding. For those who are away from home and do labour to earn a living for self and family, where will they eat? Definitely on road side hotels. And those who have to toil physically during killer peak summers of Pakistan, fasting would be suicidal.
    Our law enforcement is not that mature, misuse is usually the norm, so why add to the misery of common people by enacting punishing laws when unnecessary. Recommend

  • MJ-Sid
    May 12, 2017 - 9:40PM

    Travelers, pregnant women, sick, very old and very young are excused from fasting in Islam!!
    Are the people mentioned above supposed to go in hiding during the month of Ramadhan?Recommend

  • Khalid rashid
    May 12, 2017 - 11:51PM

    I support bakhtawarRecommend

  • Mirestan
    May 13, 2017 - 5:56AM

    I love his Law enforce Islam by force. Religion is a very personal affair. You deprive the citizens who are not Muslim, visitors who visit Pakistan on some business or personal matter. No Hotel will provide food. Please advise what children, old and sick should do.Recommend

  • Sabir
    May 13, 2017 - 10:15AM

    Totally agree with BaKhthawara. Islam been hijacked by Mullah Sahib.Recommend

  • Black sabbath
    May 13, 2017 - 11:13AM

    @MJ-Sid:
    Don’t give stupid logics… can’t they just eat while sitting in their cars with their heads down or do you think they will be walking around if they can to show deliberately what they are eating. Sick people already can’t come in public how will they break this law… it’s just the respect of Islam which unfortunately people like you are unable to graspRecommend

  • Haider
    May 13, 2017 - 11:56AM

    To correct all the misinformed people claiming that such laws exist in Dubai. May i inform you that even the food courts in mall are kept open during fasting hours and whosoever needs to eat and drink may do so, however only on the premises of the restaurant/food court. Schools have designated areas where non-fasting children can eat/drink. There is no prohibition on sale or consumption of food and drinks. Vending machines are available for water and snacks. bars/clubs serving alcohol are open for business as usual after fasting hours right through Ramzan. Recommend

  • Ahmad
    May 13, 2017 - 12:14PM

    @MJ-Sid:
    Plus Frankly I observed like a Good Number of Muslims Do not FAST While they are able as well. At least in my Village this is the Case. In KSA I lived in Gujranwala, Rawalpindi and witnessed lots of People “Not Fasting”. Recommend

  • Khalid rashid
    May 13, 2017 - 12:20PM

    @Jadugar:
    Totally agree with you .one should not force his Will on othersRecommend

  • Common Man
    May 13, 2017 - 2:42PM

    Why we are creating so much fuss about her statement?
    And if it is the Islamic way of banning people from eating/smoking in public during Ramadan then how about controlling the prices of the stuff in Ramadan? Is it not the Islamic way? Is it not Governments Duty?
    Our prices goes multiples times higher than the normal during Ramadan. Govt. can keep an eye on every individual person but they can’t control inflation by simply having an check and balance on merchants. Recommend

  • Parvez
    May 13, 2017 - 10:22PM

    Correct me if I am wrong but……after the 18th Amendment Sindh is free to formulate its own rules and if so….it should do so.Recommend

  • Raghu
    May 14, 2017 - 2:03PM

    @Haider:
    Please be corrected. I have lived in Dubai for the past 30+ years. Eating and drinking is not allowed in public. Non-muslims take take parcels from restaurants and eat in a private place. Not in Public. I wonder if you people fast or not.Recommend

  • Mamu
    May 14, 2017 - 2:04PM

    It would have been better if she remained quiet. She is better in doing that.Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    May 14, 2017 - 2:07PM

    but every one is allowed to e at – but in private . so whats wrong with this law. the majority will be fasting so its not nice to tempt them with smells and sights. Recommend

  • Asif
    May 14, 2017 - 10:59PM

    These Mullahs/Politician are clueless about religion. Ehtraam is in the Heart not on your sleeve.Recommend

  • Asma Kasim
    May 15, 2017 - 12:30AM

    Why are people attacking Bakhtawar does she not have the right to speak. Why are people questioning her residence if in Pakistan or the UAE. Fasting is an individual right if your fasting is affected by others who do not fast or eat displays that you are fasting to impress others After all we are now a society where every one want to be the judge and if you do not fit then you are open to harsh criticism. Recommend

  • Rambo
    May 15, 2017 - 10:44AM

    @Bunny Rabbit
    For the first time you have said something sensible. Thank you.Recommend

  • Zubair
    May 15, 2017 - 11:03AM

    My Foreigner colleagues rarely eat in from of us during ramazan, They show immense respect since years and appreciate us for fasting. Why cant other do it?Recommend

  • Faisal
    May 15, 2017 - 7:25PM

    @Haider:
    Dear Haider: In UAE, people are NOT allowed to eat or drink in public. They can do it behind closed doors. This is exactly what the Pakistan legislation is doing: those who want to eat and drink can do it privately. Even restaurants like Pizza Hut, KFC, etc. are closed – only take out or delivery is possible and that too only after around 3 or 4pm.
    No one is stopping anyone from eating and drinking – all the bill is doing is to avoid people eating and drinking pulbicly in the open during fasting hours. Recommend

  • Funny Rabbit
    May 15, 2017 - 8:00PM

    I agree with Bakthawar on this issue.Recommend

  • Hassaan
    May 15, 2017 - 9:36PM

    I agree 100% with her, when you ask people to stop eating in public and shut restaurants during Ramzan, either you’re forcing them to fast, or be hypocritical. Also there are people who rely on restaurants, and their lives become miserable every Ramzan, Is that what Ramzan is supposed to be about?Recommend

  • Sharoon Gill
    Jun 22, 2017 - 3:06AM

    Isn’t it something between God and the person who fasts? Why do I need to unwillingly fast with others? Will this help a rozadaar earn more religious reward points or something? How can someone’s belief be so weak that it gets tempted and insulted by watching others having their basic neccesity, ‘food’? Jews and Christians fast as well, but among them it is considered to be an abomination to show off about it.They never force others (whether or not of the same religion) to fast? Did I talk about religious freedom and minority rights?Recommend

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