SHC invites priests and pandits to present their viewpoint on liquor sale issue

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Sindh High Court has summoned Churchmen and Hindu Pandits in order to present their point of view on the issue of liquor sale in the province. In this connection clergymen from various churches are and pandits are due to appear before the court in a case pertaining to the sale of liquor in the name of minorities.

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In the light of the viewpoints presented by the Christian and Hindu leaders, Government of Sindh is likely to chalk out the policy as to who should be issued licenses for liquor sale along with allocating a quota for this purpose. SHC also directed the Government of Sindh to finalize legislation till February 14; maintaining that the rules and regulations in the same matter being implemented in Punjab must also be considered by the Government of Sindh.

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During the case hearing the court ordered the Sindh Government to make sure that all the wine shops located near mosques and schools are shut. In October 2016, Sindh High Court had directed the Government of Sindh to shut down the wine shops across the province; revoking licenses of all liquor shops operating in the province.

Sindh High Court Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, who headed the bench, remarked that the sale of liquor was much more than the population of minorities in Karachi.The bench was hearing a petition filed by Muhammad Zafar Muavia and Shehryar David who maintained that as per rules wine shops should not be allowed in the in Muslim majority areas. They petition pointed out to the fact that many licenses have been issued for opening liquor shops in the areas where non-Muslims are not in majority which is the violation of the rules.

SHC ordered the Director-General of the Sindh Excise and Taxation Department to initiate the process of revoking licenses of all 120 wine shops granted in violation of the Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order 1979. Later, in November 17, the Supreme Court of Pakistan revoked the SHC decision issuing an order to reopen wine shops in Sindh, which had been earlier sealed consequent to SHC orders.