KARACHI: “There is no place for liquor shops in any Muslim society. Giving permission to open more than 50 new wine shops in Karachi points at a conspiracy to ruin the future of the country’s youth,” said Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi secretary general Hafiz Naeemur Rehman on Friday.
Such shops have never been given permission to open in such a large number in Muslim-dominated localities, Rehman claimed, who said that the last time 22 licenses had been issued to wine shops in Karachi was 15 years ago.
The number of minorities living in Karachi is not large enough to justify the opening of these many wine shops, he said.
“If the government fails to withdraw its licences, the people of Karachi will be compelled to raze these wine shops to the ground,” warned Rehman, who demanded that the provincial minister for excise and taxation should be sacked. Rehman’s outraged statements came after it was revealed one week ago that the Sindh government has decided to issue 22 licences to wine shops in Karachi, while two have already opened in the Defence area.
Sources unwilling to be named revealed that the government had issued more licences for liquor shops during the last two years than were issued by successive governments over the past 50 years. “Be fearful of God,” was excise and taxation director general Qurban Khoso’s only comment when he was contacted by the daily Express.
The current minister for excise and taxation is Mukesh Chawla. The final authority to issue permits for the sale of liquor, however, lies with the chief minister. While two shops have already been issued formal licences, permits for the remaining 20 are currently in the last stages of approval.
WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING FROM PPI
Published in The Express Tribune,July 17th, 2010.
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