Chief Justice Sindh High Court Justice Sajjad Ali Shah has directed the excise and taxation department to invalidate liquor licenses throughout the province. A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah was hearing case regarding a petition seeking cancellation of licenses and closure of the liquor shops being operated in Muslim-majority areas.
Sheharyar David, the petitioner sought cancellation of the licenses of liquor shops operating in Defense and Clifton areas- which are densely Muslim majority areas. He had maintained that four liquor shops are operating in DHA Phase-VI and –V – which are Muslim areas and therefore there is no justification for running them there.
During the case hearing the Chief Justice inquired from the Sindh authorities’ representatives seeking answer as under what law licenses for running liquor shops were issued. He explained that licenses can only be issued for manufacture, import, or sale of liquor on the ground that such liquor was required for consumption by non-Muslim citizen of Pakistan as a part of a religious ceremony as per Article 17 of the Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order 1979.
The court further stated that possession of liquor was prohibited except for non-Muslims during their religious ceremonies, it was further stated that no provision under the law allows wine shops to stock liquor for sale throughout the year.
In line with details of Muslims and Non-Muslims issued by National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) 2,809 Christians and 2,572 Hindu reside in the Central district, 69,820 Christians and 13,356 Hindus live in Karachi East, 16,329 Christians and 8,877 Hindus live in Malir, 24,406 Christians and 4,422 Hindus in Karachi West, and 57,568 Christians and 43,143 Hindus in Karachi South.
During the case hearing, Chief Justice remarked that liquor is being used in the name of religious minorities whereas minorities consumption of liquor may reach 10% hardly, rest 90% of the consumption of liquor is not clear. CJ further remarked that the religious leaders of minorities will be inquired whether their religion allows liquor.