ISLAMABAD: A petition against the provision of permits to Christians for sale and consumption of liquor, submitted to the Federal Shariat Court.
As CIP, has learned two Christian men Naseem Masih and Aslam Pervez Sahotra have filed a petition in the Federal Shariat Court against permits, which let on Christians to consume and sale alcohol-the petitioners labelling it “a disgrace to Christianity.”
The petitioners Naseem Masih and Aslam Pervaiz Sahotra maintained that, “like Muslims, Christians are not allowed to use intoxicants.” “The view that Christians use liquor as part of religious ceremonies is a blight on Christianity,” they said, therefore issuing permits to Christians should be banned.
The petitioners deposed that,” the Christian license holders mostly sell liquor to Muslims nevertheless bring a bad name to Christianity.” What is more, they asserted that the sale of liquor significantly boosts around Islamic festivals; which is an understandable indicia that the Christian license holders supply it to Muslims predominantly.
At this occasion, the petitioners presented to the Court the Prohibition Order IV of 1979, according to which the manufacturing, possession, sale, export and transport of all kinds of intoxicants, is clearly prohibited whereupon the violation of which would bring about punishment. According to Article-4 of the Order, the prohibition would not apply to non-Muslim foreigners or non-Muslim citizens. They may posses a reasonable quantity of intoxicating liquor for the purpose of using it as a part of religious ceremonies, the Order states.
Wherefore, in view of the Prohibition Order, the Punjab government introduced the Punjab Prohibition Rules 1979, under which the Excise and Taxation Department’s Director General was given the authority to issue licences to the non-Muslims foreigners or non-Muslim Pakistanis.
The petitioners averred that Christians who had been granted permits are not only selling liquor to the Christians but to Muslim, Hindus and other religious communities in the country. They further argued that in accordance to the Order, licences and permits are only to be issued to persons representing an institution and not to individuals.
Besides, the petitioners Naseem Masih and Aslam Pervez Sahotra maintained that all Holy Books prohibit the use of intoxicants. “When Holy Books do not allow their followers to use liquor, how can one person allow another its use by quoting law?” they questioned.
They added that the Excise and Taxation Department has been using the Prohibition Order for its own reprehensible intentions. They forewarned that if the policy of issuing licences to Christians was not declared illegal and unlawful, and annulled, many Pakistani Christians will suffer severe loss and harm; as a consequence.
They upheld that the issuance of licences to individuals is not only promoting moral filth in the society although being in total contradiction to the teachings of the Holy Bible. They beseeched the Court to declare the provision of Article-17 of the Prohibition Order 4 of 1979 and Rule-12 of the Punjab Prohibition Rules 1979 unlawful, therefore ordering the cancellation of all the permits issued up to now.