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Bakhtawar slams bill forbidding public eating in Ramazan

Bakhtawar slams bill forbidding public eating in Ramazan

KARACHI: Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari has severely criticised the Ehteram-i-Ramazan (Amend­ment) Bill which prohibits eating and drinking in public during the month of Ramazan, reported.

In a tweet, the daughter of former president Asif Ali Zardari said: “People are going to die from heat stroke and dehydration with this ridiculous law. Not everyone is able. This is not Islam.”

On Wednesday, the Senate Standing Comm­ittee on Religious Affairs unanimously approved the Ehteram-i-Ramazan (Amend­ment) Bill, 2017 which seeks to punish hotel owners violating the law with fines ranging from Rs500 to Rs25,000.

Additionally, the bill also imposes a fine of Rs500 and prison sentence of up to three months for people seen smoking or eating in public during the holy month.

After receiving mixed reviews from users on the social media platform, Ms Bhutto-Zardari elaborated her initial tweet on the bill by saying that “we are more than capable of resisting temptation and keeping our fasts”.

The oldest daughter of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto insisted that the law was outrageous as it failed to consider that not everyone will be fasting in the month of Ramazan.

“Not everyone in Pakistan will be fasting...Children in school, the elderly, people with medical issues...Should we arrest them for drinking water?” she highlighted in her tweet.

Under the Ehteram-i-Ramazan Ordinance, 1981, it is illegal for Muslims to eat or drink in public during daylight hours during Ramazan, though the heatstroke crisis in Karachi a couple of years ago prompted some clerics to advise people they should stop fasting if their health is at risk.

Responding to a Twitter user’s retweet, Ms Bhutto-Zardari questioned the presence of harsh punishments in Islamic laws for those who eat and drink during Ramazan.

Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2017

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