Regulating drugs, tobacco: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire

Published: September 25, 2013
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“There was a ban on smoking in public places but our male lawmakers themselves are violating it inside the assembly,” accused Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s Nusrat Seher Abbasi. PHOTO: NNI

“There was a ban on smoking in public places but our male lawmakers themselves are violating it inside the assembly,” accused Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s Nusrat Seher Abbasi. PHOTO: NNI

KARACHI: 

The discussion which started from regulating the use of drugs and tobacco among the youth in the Sindh Assembly’s session on Tuesday soon turned hostile as lawmakers turned on each other.

“There was a ban on smoking in public places but our male lawmakers themselves are violating it inside the assembly,” accused Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s Nusrat Seher Abbasi. “We cannot even sit in the lobby because of the rampant smoking.”

As Abbasi continued to decry the government for failing to help the common man, asking, “What can we do in such a situation?”, Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Nawab Taimour Talpur’s answer was short and simple: “You should do nothing but commit suicide.”

The response created uproar in the House but the acting speaker Shehla Raza intervened and asked Talpur not to interfere.

The MPAs were all in agreement that government needed to take measures to control the sale of toxic substance, especially tobacco in the form of shisha.Adopting the resolution which was moved by Abbasi, the members demanded that the government implement the law and resolution earlier passed by the assembly. “This assembly has already passed a resolution against shisha, a practice which has flourished under the supervision of the police and excise and taxation department,” said Abbasi, alleging that many drugs dens were running with support of the police. “I want to know what action has been taken by the excise and taxation department and other authorities against kupi, gutka hashish and heroine in Karachi and other districts of the province.”

Information Minister Sharjeel Memon, however, said that the chief minister had directed the police and excise official to take action against those involved in this business. “The government has also arrested dozens of people and even suspended SHOs who were found negligent.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2013.

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