MPAs pass resolution to ban smoking shisha at cafes

Published: May 11, 2011
House members quibble over Quaid’s birthplace, claim he was born in Jhirk. PHOTO: NEFER SEHGAL/EXPRESS

House members quibble over Quaid’s birthplace, claim he was born in Jhirk. PHOTO: NEFER SEHGAL/EXPRESS


A resolution against smoking shisha (the hookah or water pipe) in restaurants and public places was unanimously passed during the Sindh Assembly session on Tuesday.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MPA Bachal Shah moved the resolution and said that shisha is the worst form of intoxication. He told his colleagues that most five-star hotels in Karachi and other restaurants across the province were offering this deadly product in a variety of flavours. “Not only boys, but teenage girls also go to restaurants and smoke shisha,” he pointed out. “The Narcotics Act is available but there is no pragmatic approach to implement it.”

Shah accepted that the practice of smoking the hookah was common in the rural parts of Sindh, where both men and women indulge in it. “But shisha is a modern form of the hookah that uses hazardous, aromatic tobacco to attract teenagers,” he added.

Quoting research on this trend, Shah pointed out that, “shisha smokers inhale up to 200 times more tobacco in a single session than a cigarette”.

PPP’s Shazia Marri, who is the minister for power, also supported the resolution. She recalled the time when she saw students, who were still in their O’ Levels, smoking shisha at one of the five-star hotels in Karachi. “It contains carbon monoxide and nicotine, which causes lung cancer and heart diseases,” she said. “It should be termed a criminal offence.”

Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Faisal Subzwari, who is the minister for youth affairs, urged the government to adopt the resolution, enact the law and ensure it is enforced. Sindh Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed said that smoking shisha was a global trend and that the authorities should start a campaign against it. PPP’s Humera Alwani suggested the government ban the import of the type of tobacco used in shisha flavours. After a long discussion, the resolution was passed unanimously.

KESC employees protest

Marri told the house that the people of Karachi end up suffering the most from disputes between the KESC management and employees. She said that the utility sacked over 4,500 workers but reappointed them on the government’s directives. Now, these workers have been placed in the surplus pool and the management is hiring other people on contract.

“The government is with the workers and will ask the KESC management to sit together and resolve the matter,” she said. The minister felt that the government has done everything to minimise load-shedding because Karachi cannot afford to lose its productivity to the power crisis.

Target killings

In response to the adjournment motion moved by Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s Marvi Rashdi on target killings, the law minister presented a report and said that the issue cannot be discussed on the floor of the assembly as it was still in court. He showed files of some cases which, according to him, were pending before the Sindh High Court.

Opposition leader Jam Madad Ali said that they will not violate the law, but looking at the worsening law and order situation in the city, the government should fix a day to discuss the issue.

Quaid’s birth place

Alwani told the house that the actual birthplace of Quaid-e-Azam was Jhirk, Thatta, and claimed that she has documentary proof.

In her resolution, she quoted the report of a committee constituted by the then chief minister Abdullah Shah in 1996, when it was proved that Wazir Mansion was not his birthplace.

MQM parliamentary leader Sardar Ahmed, quoted Quaid-e-Azam’s 1948 speech, in which Jinnah said that he was born in Karachi and that he played near the seashore.  “We should avoid indulging in this controversy,” he advised.  The speaker deferred the resolution and said that it would be taken up with correct wordings next time. Meanwhile, a resolution to establish trauma centres and fire stations on National Highway from Karachi to Ubaro was moved by MQM MPA Bilqees Mukhtiar. It was dropped later on technical grounds.

The session has been adjourned till today (Wednesday).

Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (33)

  • Saad Durrani
    May 11, 2011 - 1:17AM

    Cool. Does the government know that there is something called as “Age Restriction”?

    Putting a ban sadly backfires in our society.Recommend

  • Prof Javaid Khan FRCP(Edin)
    May 11, 2011 - 7:48AM

    This is the welcome news for all health advocates of the country.Assembly members need to be congratulated for discussing “HEALTH: in the proceedings of the assembly.Real result will come when the law is fully implemented.Two years ago Sindh goverment banned the sale of GUTKA in the province but we know that it is still freely available at all paan shops.

    People who use sheesha need to realize that God has not created lungs for flavors.In fact there are no taste buds in the lungs nor any receptors for smell.If some one likes a flavour then he or she should drink this fruity flavour in the form of a juice or eat as ice cream.Just for that flavor you dont have take several liters of poisinious gas in to your lungs and risk your life.

    Prof Javaid Khan FRCP(Edin)
    Head of Chest Diseases AKU

  • Pardeep
    May 11, 2011 - 9:18AM

    i had seen some girls while smoking the shisha at a resturant near super market clifton, but one of them was fuffering from cough and other her friend were laughing at her. I really wondered to know this so called liberal fashion. the ban must be implemented while imposing heavy fine Recommend

  • Yasir Khokhar
    May 11, 2011 - 9:50AM

    So we are done with all other issues, that its time to Ban SHEESHA Smoking now? If you (Sindh Govt) is so much concerned for Peoples’ health, Y dont U impose a ban on Cigrette as well. Im sure you woudnlt for how would U earn billions of Rs in Taxes :@. Recommend

  • May 11, 2011 - 9:53AM

    Can someone please have them read about the Prohibition in US back 1920s? What happened? It backfired.Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmed
    May 11, 2011 - 11:33AM

    Wow… what a waste of assembly’s time…Recommend

  • Farah Kaleem
    May 11, 2011 - 11:36AM

    @Saad Durrani: I agree… there should be an age limit for this and the adults can decide… if they choose to die of cancer, etc… its their choice!! Recommend

  • Nasir Jamal
    May 11, 2011 - 11:55AM

    @Saad Durrani: If it is so then should there be an age limit for heroine and other drugs as well. The sheesha and all other such things must be banned with full force of the law.Recommend

  • Naveed Javed
    May 11, 2011 - 12:07PM

    These MPAs enjoy almost every luxury and they are banning Sheesha Cafes for us! Recommend

  • waqqas iftikhar
    May 11, 2011 - 12:12PM

    lets ban cigarettes next – and while we are at it we can ban thinking and doing things that are actually enjoyable….what utter utter tossers these guys are…these things are policed via age restrictions not a blanket ban.Recommend

  • Prof Javaid Khan FRCP(Edin)
    May 11, 2011 - 12:47PM

    Sheesha not only harms those who use it but also people who sit close to one using shisha.It can not be left to an individual choice.State has the responsibility to protect the health of its citizen.In UK two years ago a restaurant owner was fined 5000 punds fine and after that no one dared serve shisha inside a restaurant.

    We have measured CARBON MONOXIDE level in shisha users and found the level very high even after 12 hours of last shisha use.CO displaces oxygen from blood and cause organ damage by reducing the blood flow.

    In most developed countries of the world all forms tobacco use including sheesha is banned inside a restaurant and the law is fully implemented.This important measure of making restaurants/cafes smoke free has reduced the burden of heart attacks and cancers in respective countries.Lets us hope that we are also able to reduces the burden of tobacco related diseases in Pakistan.I see the Lung Cancer patients every day.Almost all patients regret why they started to smoke. It is sad to tell them thats…. its too late.Over 90% of these cases could have been prevented if it was not left to individual’s choice.Recommend

  • curious
    May 11, 2011 - 1:18PM

    In that case Sindh Assembly should ban all the Alcohol shops first and yes what about Gukta, Chaalia, Niswar etc?Recommend

  • Sarah
    May 11, 2011 - 1:31PM

    Out of all the mess ups that this country is facing, yes, lets unanimously agree to ban the sheesha which according to the wonderfully enlightened Shazia Marri is equivalent to a criminal offense (such as murder, assault etc).

    This country never ceases to amaze me…Recommend

  • Fahad Raza
    May 11, 2011 - 2:04PM

    Yeah Sheesha is injurious no question but so is cigarette, Guttkas, etc ..Will they go against them ..OF COUUUURSEE NOT..I think ban wont matter cause restaurants will give a straight old school Metal Hukka instead of Glass water furnace called SHEESHA. They will play around it definitely.
    Having said that I think age limit’s a joke not even a funny one. Recommend

  • mANI
    May 11, 2011 - 3:58PM

    Good Decision, But please implement the ban imposed by Sindh Govt on Gutka. it is destroying our youngsters.Recommend

  • Cami
    May 11, 2011 - 4:13PM

    And at the end of session, they probably qouted: “Always remember kids. Real men smoke cigarettes!”Recommend

  • Bhooka
    May 11, 2011 - 4:20PM

    So they dont Ban Guns… they dont enforce Seat belts.. But no they ban Shisha.. take wateva little joy the city has to offer.. and offer no elect.. high fuel prices in return.. Pakistan is seriously going to the Dogs!Recommend

  • Maaz Maudood
    May 11, 2011 - 4:49PM

    What a brilliant decision! Because shisha is the cause of corruption on all levels of the hierarchy, shisha is the reason behind riots every other day, it is because of shisha that an average citizen thinks twice before taking his cell phone out in a public place, and shisha is the reason why my heart breaks when i think about the situation of my beloved nation.. my people.. myself and the person reading this comment.

    Good move! The country is finally saved.Recommend

  • Prof Javaid Khan FRCP(Edin)
    May 11, 2011 - 6:09PM

    Ban on sheesha will not solve all the evils of the society,i fully agree with the setiments of Maaz.

    Tobacco(which include sheesha) kills 100’000 people in Pakistan every year.This death toll is far greater then all deaths that take place in the counmtry from suicidal bombing,honour killings,road traffic accidents and drug addictions.

    If our assembly has taken some wise decision to save the health of future generations of Pakistan, then we should welcome the move.Recommend

  • Bee
    May 11, 2011 - 11:11PM

    This is a great decision (Oh btw I am a sheesha smoker), for the people who say government is taking away enjoyment, SERIOUSLY ??? You people think, sitting with your friends being lazy and smoking sheesha is fun and enjoyment??? I am sure there are more things to do for fun and enjoyment then smoking sheesha.That brings me to the point where although the decision is correct the timing for it is WRONG.
    One of the major reasons for teenagers that are indulging in sheesha activity is because our young generation is not involved in extra circular activities and unfortunately our government has not taken any steps towards engaging students elsewhere in order to keep them away from these. Even if they do ban it, these kids will still get hocked to it.
    Besides so called trying to improve the education system of our country, the government needs to at least start taking some measures towards building local society base extra circular activities, promote them and encourage youngsters to take part in them. Then only will this ban be effective and successful. Otherwise this is just another useless ban.Recommend

  • Bling Bling
    May 12, 2011 - 1:20AM

    I am not a fan of smoking sheesha and I definitely welcome this decision of banning it public places other than the sheesha bars but seriously they are overdoing it by completely banning it. Recommend

  • Nobody
    May 12, 2011 - 2:01AM

    @Prof Javaid Khan… With respect to your feelings on the matter, and while I agree that tobacco causes a very significant number of deaths globally as well as in Pakistan, I don’t think a blanket ban is going to help much. Banning things just allows a black market to develop/grow. And tobacco related deaths may account for more deaths than terrorism does year to year, but people smoke per their own choice. It’s a personal decision; as long as you’re not forcing anyone else to smoke, an age restriction makes a lot more sense.
    That being said it’s kind of disappointing to see where priorities are right now given the current situation of Pakistan. There are bigger fish to fry! Recommend

  • akpanjwani
    May 12, 2011 - 6:34AM

    an appriciable effort

    wish if hafiz can work for anti tobacco day on 31.05.2011
    atleast laws regarding bannig smoking in public places/sale to under age/ quitting helps/ hazards not only for smokers but non smokers too / cause of envirnmental pollution/ addiction espeacially youth/ loss of personal/public wealth etc etc Recommend

  • Yahya Azeem
    May 12, 2011 - 8:54AM

    Oh my god!
    what a brilliant decision!

    This goes to show we’ve solved all of the countries more meager issues such as the population problem, the electricity and power shortages, figuring out what Osama was doing here, sorting out all of Balouchistans problems, the target killing in Karachi, the health problems in various parts of the country, education curriculum’s, rehabilitation of FATA and other flood victims and not to forget the leadership of the country.

    That’s because when you fix the sheesha problem, everything will get fixed. Terrorists are here just fighting for sheesha in the country. Recommend

  • Iago
    May 12, 2011 - 10:23AM

    This is very good. However, I would request the govt. to implement it as well. Even the cigarette smoking ban is not followed anywhere. Any restaurant you go to, they still ask “Smoking or Non-Smoking” and bloody idiotic people keep on polluting thinking smoking is their birth right. If you tell them that this is illegal, they will give you such a dirty look (and because of the situation in this land of the pure you tend to keep quite or who knows you will be beaten up or even killed once you leave the restaurant) While the restaurant owners are too greedy for profits to ‘upset’ their (slimy low-life) customers.Recommend

  • Bored
    May 12, 2011 - 11:27AM

    Maybe this is too negative and biased of me but I think once the ppl importing sheesha flavor etc will pay a percentage to these mna’s this issue will subside itself. And even if this law is implemented the law enforcement agencies will definitely let this business run just fine after getting a little under the table treatment from the owners of these businesses, cafe, pan shops etc. Of course the higher profile vendors (eg. five star hotels) would prefer to follow this ban on the sale of sheesha.

    Either ways too much of anything is deterimental to health. I am trying to quit sheesha since a few weeks. I have one or two daily on my own and I can feel heaviness in my chest and I get shortness of breath very very quickly. In the mornings it feels like I have a weight attached to my chest, it is that difficult to breathe. Anyone having it regularly is going to face serious issues in a few years time. Unless one exercises and has a healthy routine otherwise. Recommend

  • Prof Javaid Khan FRCP(Edin)
    May 12, 2011 - 12:49PM

    Thank you for your valuable comments.All the time we are criticizing the government but when we go to restaurant how many of us lodge “strong ptotest” to the hotel Manager about smoking ban violation.

    Certainly banning sheesha will not solve other problems faced by the country but if a positive step has been taken by the assembly lets encourage them.Just this news of ban on sheesha at hotels and cafes has generated a debate on the issue and it is itself a positive sign.Two universities have invited me for a talk on sheesha for their students.

    When UK banned smoking and sheesha use in their restaurants and pubs, 4 years ago there was a debate in the parliment for full 12 months.This was coverd by all electronic and print media.

    When airline banned smoking in flights there were also many people against the ban but today Alhamdulilah all airlines are smoke free.This ban is fully implemented.Recommend

  • Prof Javaid Khan FRCP(Edin)
    May 12, 2011 - 3:43PM

    I would like to comment on Bored views”Too much of everything is bad”

    For tobacco even small amount is dangerous.Those who smoke 1 to 4 cigarettes have 3 fold increased risk of dying of heart attack or lung cancer.More you smoke more the risk you take.

    .Recently smoking took away one of the leading personalities of showbiz industry.Even after a Bypass surgery of his heart this gentleman could not stop smoking and eventually died of a seccond heart attack.Recommend

  • Mallick
    May 13, 2011 - 8:00AM

    just like every other bill passed in the assembly this ban will be manipulated a couple of times and sooner or later die its own death.Recommend

  • Prof Javaid Khan FRCP(Edin)
    May 13, 2011 - 2:29PM

    When PIA became SMOKE FREE over 5 years ago there were many Pakistanis who said its impossible to implement this ban.Several people wrote letters that our MNAs will be the first one to violate this ban and said that this law can not be implemented in PIA.
    Exactly the same views are being expreesd by people like Mr Mallick today about the ban on smoking sheesha in our hotels and restaurants.

    .About 8 months ago all hotel lobies used to be full of people smoking.I conducted a seminar in collaboration with MOH and Ministry of Environment.All 5 star hotel management were invited in that seminar.Yesterday I had a chance to visit Marriat Hotel Karachi and last week I visited Islamabad hotel in Islamabad.No one was smoking in the lobby and there were visible NO smoking signs.Change is comming and more and more people are getting aware of hazards of 2nd hand smoking.

    All of us need to play our role in promoting health in the society.May 31ST is the World NO TOBACCO DAY lets all of us spread the message that “TOBACCO kills”.Recommend

  • May 13, 2011 - 2:43PM

    very good news its good for YOUTH Recommend

  • Asad
    May 14, 2011 - 11:09PM

    Yes, there are several grave problems facing Pakistan but tobacco is certainly one of them. If 34,000 people have died from terrorist attacks in the past ten years then roughly 3 times the number die EVERY YEAR due to diseases directly attributable to tobacco.

    Its not about limiting people’s choices..shisha smoking should be banned because it is harmful to others. This is a classic example of negative externalities..your actions actions are hurting someone else and thats why the government needs to intervene. All developed nations have moved towards implementing smoking bans because it also makes economic sense..if this government has done the same then it should be applauded for the right decisions it is making and not simply derided for everything.Recommend

  • Hasan Mansoor
    May 15, 2011 - 10:06AM

    All these hot shots politicians drink crazily and they end up putting a ban on sheesha ? My question is this why are there not strict controls on the alcohal drinks while there is a law present ? oh Yes the law makers and busy having a shot while making the law!Recommend

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