Plea for prohibition: CII for indiscriminate ban on alcohol consumption

Published: June 1, 2014
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CII says representatives of other faiths demand an end to liquor permits. PHOTO: CREATIVE COMMONS

CII says representatives of other faiths demand an end to liquor permits. PHOTO: CREATIVE COMMONS

ISLAMABAD: 

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has advised the Parliament to make drinking alcohol punishable for all, including non-Muslims and foreigners.

“In a recent meeting of the body, we have discussed this issue in length,” CII Chairman Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani told The Express Tribune. The council had also had interaction with representatives of other faiths, who had demanded the government stop issuing permits to non-Muslims.

“Hindu and Christian leaders have said their respective religions also prohibit alcohol and that they will table a resolution in the National Assembly demanding amendments in the existing laws that allows usage of alcohol for non-Muslims,” he said. The proposed ban would involve amendment in the Hudood Ordinance against theft, adultery and drugs, he added.

During a discussion, the CII members said that according to the principles of the Holy Quran, the use of alcohol or hemp is repugnant even for medical purposes, irrespective of quantity or percentage in a mixture.

“Such drinks should be considered prohibited even if prescribed by a qualified doctor or medical authority,” one of the CII members said. “The only exception would be the case of an addict admitted to hospital where medics consider alcoholic drink indispensable for treatment.

“Alcoholic preparations could also be used if it is medically determined that without their use, a life would be in danger and no substitute is possible,” he added.

He said the use of alcohol could be declared lawful, though with abhorrence, for scientific and industrial purposes, adding that production of alcohol for these purposes could be allowed by an official agency, but not by any individual, Muslim or non-Muslim.

“Such an arrangement is necessary to prevent misuse of alcohol,” another CII member added. They said that the CII had also proposed that a fee or tax could also be levied on alcohol production.

Talking to The Express Tribune, former federal minister J Salik also demanded amendments in the existing laws as he referred to the misuse of the law. Salik, who represents the Christian community, said the existing laws were absolutely corrupt. “It is a conspiracy against minorities. It is never our demand to allow alcohol,” he said, adding that they wanted welfare steps for their community. “Through alcohol, our children are drifting towards criminal activities,” he said.

Existing laws on alcohol

Former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had imposed a ban on alcohol in 1976. Now only non-Muslims can drink alcohol, but they must get a permit from the government and pay a fee. They get a fixed quota of alcohol every month. The permit holder must renew the permit every year. The government fixes the quota based on a person´s income. The permit is not issued without a religious certificate available also to church authorities.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2014.

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Reader Comments (42)

  • GS@Y
    Jun 1, 2014 - 10:11AM

    As the oft-appropriate Punjabi saying goes: “hori nu hori di, annhi nu dangori di”.

    Dissolve this pointless body. All maters related to law- religious or secular- should be discussed on the floor of the parliament.

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  • Salman
    Jun 1, 2014 - 10:13AM

    Nonsense. They should be legalizing it instead of taking these backward steps.

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  • Go away
    Jun 1, 2014 - 10:27AM

    How about focusing on child abuse in madrassa’s, cleanliness, protection of minorities…

    We have has 30 years of mullahs nows, is pakistan a better place for it.?

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  • pissed
    Jun 1, 2014 - 11:03AM

    Hey CII, Thanks for resolving honor killing, sectarian killing and all other issues. Now we can focus on the biggest sin alcohol :)

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  • numbersnumbers
    Jun 1, 2014 - 11:26AM

    Mullah mouth at work again;
    Allowing 60 year old men to “marry” child brides is OK!
    Ban consumption of alcohol because it is a sin!!!

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  • saif
    Jun 1, 2014 - 12:12PM

    The country is going straight down the drain, I am all for a debate on whether to allow alcohol or not, which actually i would ask to allow but the priorities are simply amazing at this point. We act like everything is alright in the country and the matters that don’t really play any major role in the overall society are the ones of highest concern to our parliament. We have war in the north, almost losing balochistan , bombs going off every day and this is what our parliament has time to discuss, should we ban alcohol or not. And yeah I forgot minorities are facing a virtual genocide and women are considered something between a human and an animal (if they are lucky).

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  • kamran Khan
    Jun 1, 2014 - 12:16PM

    Does anyone ever hear this CII calling for indiscriminate ban on corruption, crimes against women and children, illegal grabbing of lands and extortion and kidnapping for ransom and electricity theft (in which many if not all of the madressahs are involved neck deep), unjustified profit, spurious goods sale, cheating, traffic laws violation, feudalism, etc. ???

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  • kamran Khan
    Jun 1, 2014 - 12:17PM

    @Go away: These mullahs are also now involved in land grabbing and extortion. Try buying a property close to a msjid cum madressah and the mullahs would come to you demanding for a few millions in “chanda” or else…

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  • kamran Khan
    Jun 1, 2014 - 12:18PM

    @pissed: you would never hear them saying a word against corruption, crimes against women and children, these mullahs have tarnished the name and image of this religion

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  • Zog
    Jun 1, 2014 - 12:19PM

    I am really tired of all these mullah popping up every five minutes in papers and TV.

    Have had enough.

    I dont need them to have a connection with God.

    They add NO VALUE to Pakistan.

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  • Jun 1, 2014 - 12:47PM

    It is good thing. Alcohol should be banned in Pakistan. All big hotels and even small hotels in different cities are selling alcohol openly and there is no one to stop them.

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  • SamSal
    Jun 1, 2014 - 12:48PM

    My suggestion: Make giving statements punishable for CII.

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  • PakArmySoldier
    Jun 1, 2014 - 1:04PM

    These Mullahs will thrust Pakistan into the stone age.

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  • Saleem
    Jun 1, 2014 - 1:16PM

    All sensible decent citizens of Pakistan demand that CII be dissolved and these mullahs be put in jail.

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  • Parvez
    Jun 1, 2014 - 1:17PM

    It is high time that government got some backbone and banned the CII.Recommend

  • pnpuri
    Jun 1, 2014 - 1:22PM

    prohibition will only help bootleggers. i know of people who will manage to get their drinks even on dry days in Delhi by paying a little extra. since i, am myself a social drinker enjoying 2-3 drinks about 6 times a month.i do not consider any thing wrong with drinking. but addicts certainly need treatment. but any kind of ban is per se wrong

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  • Pakistani
    Jun 1, 2014 - 1:38PM

    Intoxication is forbidden not ha-ram ? We throw bombs in places of prayer,Want to marry 9 years old baby. Keep four wifes is the call of the day. Kill every one who does not fallow your style of Islam.
    These very Islamic leaders were against the creation of Pakistan. Now they want to be custodian of Pakistan. Butto ban alcohol for any Islamic reasons, Just rope in Islamic party to stay in power. He was a big drunker himself.

    We do not live in 7th century, Islam is religion of all time. There is a word called IJTAMA. follow and improve the basic values. If you do not like go and live in the country of your liking.

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  • Prof. Shahid Mobeen
    Jun 1, 2014 - 1:39PM

    Dear Mr. J. Salik I think you did not read the Scriptures…

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  • Khalid Ansari
    Jun 1, 2014 - 1:53PM

    What about building a wall around the country to ensure a fortress against the rest of the world?

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  • Ali
    Jun 1, 2014 - 1:54PM

    Thank God I don’t live in this country anymore!

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  • Mustafa Alvi
    Jun 1, 2014 - 2:18PM

    I have never had alcohol and i probably never will. However if someone else chooses to it is neither my right nor my obligation to tell him otherwise. Its a persons own choice what they do or do not do. We need to stop this morale policing. As long as someone’s activities arent affecting anyone around them i dont think it should be a problem for anyone.

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  • HKBajwa
    Jun 1, 2014 - 2:19PM

    Once again a ruling from the CII that plays very well with the fundo elements in society, but which has no chance of ever being effectual.

    As always the law will do nothing to decrease demand, or even remotely affect that amounts of alcohol consumed. Rather it will create a huge business opportunity for various mafias that will surely spring up to meet the demand.

    One has only to look at the Prohibition years in the US as an example. Numerous organized crime syndicates owe their existence entirely to the untenable laws enacted at the time. even in those middle eastern countries like Saudi Arabia where alcohol is banned, the people who wish to drink WILL DRINK.

    But that is the wont of the CII after all.. expressing its opinion on populist irrelevancies in order to create a fuss but providing absolutely no benefit to society.

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  • Thinkaboutit
    Jun 1, 2014 - 2:57PM

    You say as long as someone’s activities aren’t affecting those around them. I beg you to check the number of annual deaths caused by drunk driving in any country where the consumption of alcohol is widespread@Mustafa Alvi:

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  • Enough
    Jun 1, 2014 - 3:03PM

    Time to disband the CII.

    They serve no purpose other than their own.

    If we need religious guidance, lets talk to some Alims of Islam from some sensible country (Malaysia), rather than the Mullahs of Pakistan (all the do is spread hate and fear).

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  • Thinkaboutit
    Jun 1, 2014 - 3:06PM

    I certainly don’t support alcohol consumption. It simply has too many cons, and does indirectly affect the people around the consumer. But on the large scale, the CII should be dissolved. Ideally there isn’t anything wrong with having a body like that, but look at some of the things they are saying, and more importantly when they are saying it. The amount of problems in this country are simply enormous, and they have had a devastating effect. Instead of providing opposition to the Taliban and extremist forces and try to provide the peaceful and correct image of Islam, a counter image, they remain largely silent on the issue. Just like they remain silent on corruption, bribery, extortion, mass murder, honour killings, all very un Islamic deeds! And they actually go out and choose to make the headlines with the support of child marriage. Shocking. A council of fools. They could do so much work, they could be so useful. And yet they appear completely disinterested in the real problems haranguing this society. Either dissolve this council, or remove and replace all of its members.

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  • Mq
    Jun 1, 2014 - 3:42PM

    Consumption of alcohol is a matter of choice whether one is a Muslim or a non Muslim. Though the consumers of alcahol should realise that the cost of its consumption outweighs its benefits.

    Making it legal would only encourage its consumption. Frankly the elite and the educated consume it with such irresponsibility in Pakistan. One can imagine its effects on our society if it is made openly available.

    There are areas of higher priority on the contrary that exist in our society and I agree but nonetheless turning a blind eye to other concerns is not constructive either.

    And @ali no one cares you don’t live in Pakistan anymore.

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  • ahmed
    Jun 1, 2014 - 7:12PM

    Every country in the world gives its people freedom to do whatever they want with themselves……in Pakistan the government doesn’t really admister anything but public freedom and morals which should really be the last task in the list…… I don’t think the rules regarding alcohol need any further emphasis

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  • Mir
    Jun 1, 2014 - 8:50PM

    Malaysia has 60% Muslim population. Constitution states that state religion is Islam. But Alcohol is not prohibited except Kalantan estate. There are hundred of bars in the country,But Malays will not be found in these bars..
    There is no ban or Muslim cannot go to these bars. But you will not find a single Malay in these bars. This is their personal decision .

    In Pakistan is home of pure, but Islamic law is forced by the barrel of gun. If you cannot afford Alcohol
    you can have cheap kicks, rocket ,Gutka, Ganga, Bung,Cherrs you name it it will be available on street corner.

    Any thing forced on you will be retaliated. For me Islam is the best way of life. not that I was born Muslim, I choose the best. I fallow the way my father and his father fallowed. Islam which spreed in Sub content for hundred of years.

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  • pro bono publico
    Jun 1, 2014 - 11:29PM

    @Mustafa Alvi:
    Let them drink and drive and kill too

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  • hafeez
    Jun 2, 2014 - 2:22AM

    What nonsense. Everyone in Pakistan drinks. They should legalise it so they can TAX it!. Bunch of idiots. The fact that alcohol is prohibited only leads to corruption. Look at what happpened to the U.S. during pro-hibition.

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  • saif
    Jun 2, 2014 - 7:16AM

    @Ali:
    same here bro

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  • saif
    Jun 2, 2014 - 7:18AM

    @Prof. Shahid Mobeen: prof shahid , have you not read the news papers , the level of problems we are facing and the kind of bills they are passing , if you havent understood yet , the priorities are the main problem here

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  • Rex Minor
    Jun 2, 2014 - 12:02PM

    @ahmed

    No one is allowed to drink alcohal in the so called Bible States of the USA, nor allowed to smoke in public in European union. You are free to express your opinion, though and blow in the air, Sir.

    Rex Minor

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  • Dajjal
    Jun 2, 2014 - 1:12PM

    Aren’t the CII members themselves high most of the time? Judging by some of their recent pronouncements, seems they are on something much more potent then alcohol…. lets ban that first.. While there is no doubt that alcohol is not a good thing, but for women… CII is much more dangerous… so, lets Ban CII instead.

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  • PakAtheist
    Jun 2, 2014 - 4:15PM

    So what about thé rights of non-religious people in Pakistan. Atheists have thé right to drink alcohol. I wonder when would probably one of the largest minorities in Pakistan would be given their rights, and would be recognized! Seriously I’m sure about 1% of our population is atheist, and I think we number more than Hindus / poor Ahmedis!

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  • Iron hand
    Jun 2, 2014 - 7:06PM

    @Rex Minor: no one is allowed to drink alcohol in “Bible States?” That’s a completely false, self-serving misrepresentation, like most of your comments in this forum.

    Iron hand

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  • Mustafa Alvi
    Jun 2, 2014 - 7:23PM

    @Thinkaboutit:
    I understand what you mean but then zoning it is a better option then completely banning it. Banning anything gives rise to unregulated black markets which is worse.

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  • Rex Minor
    Jun 2, 2014 - 11:43PM

    @Iron hand:

    I was not served even in a restaurant and even in the Kentucky whisky producng plant that even taste sampling is not allowed, but then you must be a hindu from the land of avatars not knowing the difference between a straight statement and lies. It is not your fault, we have similar problems with Lakshmi Mittal who can not differentiate between the truth and a lie.

    Rex Minor

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  • Rex Minor
    Jun 2, 2014 - 11:55PM

    @Iron hand:
    Google, why there is a prohibition in the bible belt counties, will also provide you the reason as well? Hope you have the ability to surf in the internet?

    Rex Minor

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  • numbersnumbers
    Jun 3, 2014 - 10:40AM

    @Rex Minor:
    Would all please go to wikipedia and search for “Alcohol laws of the United States” to see a state by state list of laws (including those “so-called Bible States) that show that, as usual, @Rex Minor is WRONG AGAIN!!!

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  • Rex Minor
    Jun 3, 2014 - 3:16PM

    @numbersnumbers:

    Now go to Wickipedian and ask for dry counties in USA!

    Rex Minor

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  • numbersnumbers
    Jun 3, 2014 - 9:17PM

    @Rex Minor:
    In case you forgot, you stated that “No one is allowed to drink alcohol in the so called bible states of the USA”! “Your Dry counties” only refer to the prohibition of SELLING alcohol, not in consuming it!
    So, once again, @Rex Minor’s above statement (no one is allowed to drink alcohol…) is totally false!

    Recommend

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