Cabinet approves bill to increase fines for eating in public during Ramazan

PML-N govt is increasing the fines by up to 1,000% for violating the eating restrictions

Zafar Bhutta January 31, 2018
PML-N govt is increasing the fines by up to 1,000% for violating the eating restrictions. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government has made violating the eating restrictions during Ramazan heavier on the wallet, increasing the fines by up to 1,000 per cent.

The government had also decided that cinemas may not be open during fasting hours of the holy month.

A senior government official told The Express Tribune that the Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Division had moved a summary to the cabinet division on January 16, 2018 to increase fines by 100 per cent against those who eat in public during fasting hours in the holy month of Ramazan.

The cabinet, in its meeting on January 16, 2018, was informed that the Ehtram-e-Ramazan Ordinance 1981 prohibited the eating and serving of eatables in public or various establishments as well as enforcing other rules for observing the sanctity of the holy month of Ramazan.

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The cabinet was informed that a private bill namely Ehtram-e-Ramazan Amendment Bill 2017 was moved by Senator Chaudhry Tanvir Khan and the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs had recommended the same with slight amendments.

The bill aimed at increasing the fine tiers from Rs500 to Rs5,000 for individuals, from Rs500 to Rs25,000 for restaurants and eateries, and from Rs25,000 to Rs500,000 for cinemas and TV channels. Furthermore, it would require cinemas to stay closed in the month of Ramzan during fasting hours in addition to the time periods already mentioned in the ordinance.

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The cabinet was further informed that the private bill as recommended by the senate standing committee had been vetted by Law and Justice Division that Religious Affairs Division had submitted a summary to the cabinet committee for disposal of Legislative Cases in support of the bill by the government in the Parliament and that the CCLC had recommended the same for approval of the cabinet.

The cabinet was solicited to approve the amendment bill and did just that.