KARACHI: A division bench headed by Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah directed the provincial government to submit an explanation that under which law the authorities had allowed the sale of liquor by restoring the licences of the sealed wine shops.
The chief justice said that under the Article 17 of the Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order 1979 licences could be issued for the sale of liquor on the ground that such liquor was required for consumption by non-Muslims as a part of their religious ceremonies.
The bench was hearing the case involving the issue whether the issuance of licences for the sale of liquor was lawful.
The Supreme Court had on Nov 23 annulled the SHC order regarding cancellation of licences of about 124 wine shops across the province and returned the case to the high court for rehearing the parties affected by its order.
The bench asked Advocate General of Sindh Zameer Hussain Ghumro to explain that which law permitted the government to allow the sale of liquor following the apex court’s order.
The excise and taxation department’s letter, issued to its regional directors for allowing the opening of wine shops, had quoted Mr Ghumro as saying that since “the order of the high court has been set aside, the previous position has been restored and the wine shops sealed earlier stand restored in terms of the order”.
The chief justice observed that the government needed to amend the Hudd Ordinance if it was all for allowing the wine shops to sell liquor.
Sardar Hira Singh, who represented the Sikh community, told the judges that wine was not permitted in his religion. “80 per cent of liquor is being sold to Muslims in the name of non-Muslims.”
The chief justice remarked that liquor was being sold openly in the name of non-Muslims. “The non-Muslims themselves concede before the court that they don’t consume liquor.”
Courtesy : Dawn News