ISLAMABAD: The federal law ministry and a parliamentary panel on Monday opposed a bill moved by the chief of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) MNA Maulana Muhammad Khan Shirani regarding the ban on alcohol for non-Muslims.
Law ministry in its draft, a copy of which is also available with The Express Tribune, termed the bill unjustifiable, unreasonable and misconceived. “…the bill moved by Shirani will not serve any purpose and must be vehemently opposed.”
The bill seeks to amend clause (h) of Article 37 of the Constitution which reads, “prevent the consumption of alcoholic liquor otherwise than for medicinal and, in the case of non-Muslims, religious purposes.”
Commenting on the bill, the law ministry stated that in all the constitutions of the country the alcohol was allowed for non-Muslims and it is against the principal of policy to modify this clause.
As per the existing legislation, non-Muslims can drink alcohol, but they must get a permit from the government and pay a fee. Per the permit, 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.
Shirani, who is a leader of the government’s ally Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) in the lower house of the parliament, had earlier faced criticism for his controversial decrees particularly on child marriage.
Talking to The Express Tribune Shirani said he does not know why his proposed bill was being opposed in the parliament as well as in media for what he claimed were interpretations of Islamic teachings.
An advisor of the law ministry told The Express Tribune that the bill seeks to omit the expression “and, in the case of non-Muslim, religious purposes.” This will make the current legislation a copy of clause (f) of Article 28 of the 1956 Constitution and Article 8 of the 1962 Constitution and Article 48 of the interim Constitution of 1972.
Furnishing a written reply to the proposed bill, the law ministry argued that the claim religious minorities were facing criminal cases due to this clause (clause (h) of Article 37 of Constitution) is not based on any logic and reason as this provision seeks to discourage alcoholic drinks. Instead, the law dealing with alcohol is called the Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order, 1979 and not clause (h) of the Article 37 of the Constitution, the reply stated.
In addition to the Law Ministry's reply, the National Assembly’s standing committee on law and justice also suggested Shriani retract the proposed bill since it was against the freedom of citizens and it can damage the country's image.
Shirani argued that a number of non-Muslim MPs were supporting his bill and that they should also be consulted on the issue.
The standing committee on law and justice is expected to hear minority MPs who had backed Shirani's bill at its next hearing, but, members of the committee convinced Shirani that he will not stress the bill any further.
MNA Muhammad Bashir Virk, chairman of the committee, said that it would not suitable to cancel permits for alcohol because there are some traditions where wine is served even in the Churches. The followers of the Sikh religion too do not ban usage of alcohol, he added.
Pakistan Peoples Party MNAs Syed Naveed Qamar, Ayaz Somroo and Senator Saaeda Iqbal also opposed Shirani’s bill and termed it against the spirit of the unanimously passed constitution of 1973. Even MNAs of the ruling party pulled their support for the bill.
After being grilled by his colleagues, Shirani angrily said, we should allow alcohol for society because of trends and need but not in the name of religion. He added that main purpose of his bill was to save the sanctity of minorities because we are earning bad name for their religions.
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Now-a-days many muslims have been addicted and fond of alcohol and they serve their Eid and New Year parties with wine whereas alcohol is strictly prohibited in Islam and they claim to be the muslims but oppose openly the order of Islam of not drinking alcohol.Non-muslims are defamed just for nothing.....
O! my countrymen, though you drink not and you serve your lord in good faith, still you shed more blood than the drinking and infidel nations do. It seems you are cursed by thy faith.
When it comes to alcohol consume, Islamic Pakistan has the highest non-Muslim population of the whole world.
Maulana saab should know that the usage of Charas, Opium, Gaanja, Bhang are part of our culture since thousands of years and we love our Indus Valley Culture.
@Techie: so you're saying that no alcohol is served at hotels etc in Saudi? My friend maybe you've visited the wrong Saudi.
Allow Alcohol, regulate it ,export it and earn useful Foreign exchange. Allow the sales of alcohol throughout the country and also open pubs, Pious Muslims should resist their temptation and avoid its consumption, that will take them to the greater ranks of faith. And let people like us with weak faith, prepare for our own good. Put an end to this religious atrocity of judging other people faith and declaring others infidel.
This is ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN, so there should be no alcohal allowed to anyone what so ever. In Saudi Arabia it is also banned completely.
how the heck does banning alcohol hurt pakistan's already much-tarnished image? Either it is an Islamic republic or it isn't!! the goddamn politicians should either just rename this country Pakistan rather than call it an islamic republic when this is their stance. and just so these idiots know, banning youtube already ruined pakistan's image as well.
Last time I saw a man "drunk" on religion blow himself up killing many innocents. Should we now ban religion?
Well, the Non-Muslims are not allowed anything else in this country, their lives and properties are threatened... their laws are not recognized, the women abducted and forcefully converted to other religions (well, just one religion) and they are routinely accused of blasphemy to settle disputes... and the govt is only good at making statements and not doing anything to remedy the crimes against them... so the least "the federal law ministry and a parliamentary panel" could do was allow them to get drunk and forget about their problems for a while..
Where is the evidence that nations who consume alcohol lag behind in any yardstick including morality? If some ones faith does not alow so be that. It should be legalized so that criminal mafias should be eliminated. Because of this so called ban, hundreds of people die with moonshine every year in Pakistan. At times Muslims who drink are obliged to non Muslims for helping them to get this. There are millions of muslims in north America and Europe . Does open availability affects them? But in the end I agree that either there should be absolute ban for every one including minorities and embassies or it should be legalized and left to free will of people to choose. Otherwise it is hypocrisy that one type of national is allowed and other is not.
Lift the ban and regulate it. It will be a best Eid gift ever.
If you wish to ban, then ban it for all! partial ban is only act as loophole to create black market! or just dont ban it and regulate its use like western world, put harsh punishment if you caught driving while drunk or disturbing peace! open up all new pandorabox!
But the Hippocrates drink but deny in public so will not do anything concerete!
Hey supports actions bordering on pedophilia but has a problem with alcohol being consumed by non Muslim.Lets thank Chairman Zardari of the pseudo-liberal PPP for appointing this man as head of the CII
Alcohol is easily avvailable in pakistan. All the top hotels and clubs have alcohol leaving asude the alcohol smuugled from abroad. In lahore for example we have alcohol being sold in hotels like pc avari ambassador hotel and clubs like the gymkhana club. Its being sold openly and people are consuming it like anything. Same story with drugs. Leaving aside hashish so much heroin is being sold in every nook and cranny. These things are destroying our generation. Please in the name of god save this country.
@Anaa: so you mean to say that whatever is happening in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, etc is because of alcohol? How many people are killed in the name of religion every year and how many by brawls and alcohol? US also banned alcohol in the name of religion and saw a huge rise in organized crime due to that. People who want to get intoxicated would get opium from Afghanistan. They would smoke or consume tobacco in an oral form.
How about a ban on the heera mandis.
I bet a majority of our politicians and generals indulge in alcohol.
A caveman will think like a caveman!
Great idea! Allow it, legalize it, tax it. If you are so devout, don't drink. But stop imposing your hypocritical morality onto others
what a joke, i think specially in our country muslims drink much more than non-muslims. The so called muslims of our country cannot live without alcohol and thus need the non-muslims to get the alcohol into Pakistan legally.
For once law minister has done right thing
Alcohol being served in churches? Doesn't bible disallow it?
I like the last para where the moulvi talks abut allowing alcohol for all the people. We should seriously consider abandoning all previous laws of prohibition.
our parliamentarians have enough spare time for futile things. I wish some day we come out the jar of religion and discuss real issues which lagging Pakistan much behind. Unemployment and poverty need the top most priority
No religion permits liqour intake... So does not make sense why it should be allowed. Last time I had a brawl with guy because he was drunk and he blocked the road.. So allow this so people can drink and kill each other..