A constitutional amendment bill, seeking a complete ban on consumption of alcohol in the country, which was proposed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Dr Ramesh Kumar, has been rejected by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice on Tuesday.
The bill was termed ‘a publicity stunt’ and ‘a mischievous act’ by the committee, according to media reports.
Dr Ramesh had asked the parliament to amend Article 37 of the Constitution which permits the consumption of alcohol for minorities in the country. He proposed to ban the trade license of alcohol for the Hindu community as “it is against the teachings of their religion”.
He was joined by MNA Shunila Ruth, belonging to the Christian community, who too demanded a ban on alcohol consumption, stating “alcohol is prohibited in our religion too”. Malik Farooq Azam opposed the amendment asking the lawmakers not to fall for ‘media hype and publicity’.
Another lawmaker, Bashir Virk, also opposed the bill, stating it would result in the “humiliation for the country across the world”. The meeting chaired by Riaz Fatyana, debated over the five bills tabled in front of the committee; they rejected three bills while one bill each was approved and one was deferred.
Amongst the bills discussed during the meeting was a bill for Amendment in Article 51, seeking enhancement of women seats from 60 to 61 and to allocate this female seat for Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
After a lengthy discussion, the bill was unanimously recommended and now the bill will be tabled at the assembly. Another bill presented before the committee was “the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (Amendment in Article 51 and 106)” moved by MNA Naveed Aamir Jeeva
The bill was deferred by the committee till its next meeting due to non-availability of mover and asked the Chairman National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) chairman and Secretary of the Statistics Division attend the next meeting along with data related to this bill.
The moot was attended by MNAs Atta Ullah, Lal Chand, Farooq Azam Malik, Maleeka Ali Bokhari, Sana Ullah Khan Masti Khel, Sher Ali Arbab, Shunila Ruth, Rana Sana Ullah, Mehmood Bashir Virk, Usman Ibraheem, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Saad Waseem, Aliya Kamran and Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwai.