The Punjab government earlier yesterday submitted an interim report in the Supreme Court, informing it that it had arrested 133 people and registered 32 cases against different offenders from 2014 to 2015 for serving ‘sheesha’ smoking (glass hooka). Apperently the Sc and the govt have nothing better to do then persecute sheesha smokers.
The report submitted by Assistant Advocate General of Punjab Mudassar Khalid Abbasi, stated that 49 individuals had been arrested this year and 84 last year.
Similarly, 19 cases have been registered against offenders this year and 13 last year and they all have been sent to courts.
A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali is seized with a case regarding tobacco epidemic in Pakistan — a case initiated by former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on a suo motu in 2006.
The suo motu was taken after realising that the trend of sheesha smoking was on the rise in the country and as a result many sheesha cafes had been established in different cities. It was also noticed then that such cafes were frequented mostly by young people, including girls, where they used hard and soft drugs.
At the last hearing on Nov 5, the Supreme Court had ordered the inspector general of Police Punjab to take corrective measures so that the bad habit of sheesha smoking was not followed in open public places like hotels, restaurants and parks.
In compliance the Punjab government, however, explained before the apex court that cases against sheesha smokers were non-cognizable and the cases were being registered under Section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code subsequent to a notification issued by the district coordination officer on behalf of the provincial government or under Section 11 of the Prohibition of the Smoking and Protection of non-smokers Health Ordinance, 2002, which is also non-cognizable.
At the last hearing, the provincial government submitted a report in the court which stated that to save the health of the youth by curbing the menace of sheesha smoking, the Punjab government had tabled a bill — Punjab Prohibition of Sheesha Smoking Bill, 2014 — before the provincial assembly, and it believed that it would be adopted soon.