KARACHI: To legislate for a ban on the sale of gutka and mainpuri in the province, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MPA Rubina Qaimkhani has submitted a private bill to the Sindh Assembly Secretariat.
The draft for the ‘Sindh Prohibition on Manufacture, Promotion and Sale of Gutka and Mainpuri Act, 2017’, which was submitted on Tuesday, suggests seven years of confinement with a fine which may extend to Rs100,000 as a punishment for those who manufacture, market and sell gutka and mainpuri.
“Since there is no law in the province [to deal with gutka] and people, including children, are getting addicted to this menace, I have tabled this law to save thousands of lives,” Qaimkhani said while talking to the media.
According to Qaimkhani, the number of gutka and mainpuri consumers is increasing with the passage of time and there is a dire need to ban these products and create awareness among citizens of Sindh about their hazardous affects.
The PPP MPA, who has also lost her brother because of mouth cancer, said that her brother’s death compelled her to launch a campaign against gutka. She further informed the media that she has launched an organisation which conducts surveys and mobilises people against the menace of gutka and mainpuri.
“When the police and district administration are asked to take action against the manufacturing and sale of gutka, they make excuses because there is no law which empowers them to do so,” Qaimkhani said, adding that gutka is 50 times more dangerous than smoking and it must be banned in the entire province.
“A survey conducted in 2008 revealed that around five million children under the age of 15 are addicted to gutka, which is a serious issue. We should all stand up against it to save our future generation,” she said.
According to the proposed law, the sale and manufacture of gutka shall be cognisable and a non-bailable offence. “No court inferior to court of sessions shall try an offence punishable under this Act,” the draft reads.
The PPP MPA was hopeful that the bill will be taken up in the upcoming session of the provincial assembly, as there was an urgency to deal with the issue.
It may be mentioned that the Sindh High Court recently took notice of the sale and purchase of gutka in the province and ordered the concerned authorities to take action. However, the authorities have not been able to put an end to the sale of gutka.