The Swat police have banned underage cigarettes sales. The decision was taken during a meeting of all Senior House Officers (SHOs) of Swat on Saturday.
District Police Officer (DPO) Gul Afzal Afridi, presiding over the meeting, urged all shopkeepers not to sell cigarettes to children under 18 and warned them of stern action in case of non-compliance. He also urged parents to help the police in ensuring the ban.
Locals from different walks of life appreciated the decision; however, a few shopkeepers expressed their reservations.
“We have no objection to the decision taken by police but as a majority of parents send their children to buy cigarettes for them we don’t think the decision is implementable,” a shopkeeper in Mingora, Fazal Wahid, told The Express Tribune. He said that parents must play their part in ensuring the ban on underage cigarettes sales.
Locals also urged the government to calk-out legislations to prevent sale of narcotics to children.
Bilal Khan, a school teacher in Mingora, said the number of street children in Swat has tripled following the militancy. He said that without guidance these children are prone to becoming victims of drug abuse. He vowed to assist law enforcement agencies for the cause.
DPO Afridi also expressed concern over “carelessness of parents” for allowing underage children to drive, which he said has led to numerous traffic accidents in Mingora.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2012.