The city district government’s deadline for Pizza Hut, Coffee Tea and Company and Gloria Jeans Cafe in Gulberg to end smoking on the premises has expired. Tariq Zaman, the personal staff officer to the district coordination officer (DCO), said on Friday that the restaurants may be inspected anytime and sealed if found violating the ban. He, however, did not give an exact date.
The restaurants were raided last week by Zaman and some Environment Protection Department officials and told to stop tobacco smoking on the premises. The deadline ended on Friday.
The management’s request to allow smoking in separate ‘smoking area’ was turned down, he said.
Zaman said that the managements had agreed to comply with the instructions and follow the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-smokers’ Health Ordinance 2002.
“We will find out in a few days whether or not ate they complying with the instructions,” he said.
He hoped that other restaurants will lean from the example and messages disseminated through the media. Those still disregarding the law will be dealt with like the sheesha cafes.
Commenting on the legal status of a verbal warning, Zaman said that notices had been served to all restaurants in May.
The Restaurants and Cafes Association of Punjab recently moved an application with the DCO seeking permission to serve sheesha in the open air.
The DCO had turned down the request calling sheesha a social menace.
The anti-smoking campaign was started in May this year. It stresses for the enforcement of the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-smokers Health Ordinance 2002. The ordinance prohibits smoking in public places including restaurants, bus stands and railway stations.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2012.