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No Eating Or Drinking In Ramazan

It can land you in jail!

A sip here and a bite there during Ramazan can put you in prison for three whole months. Think of your Summer vacations before you sneak in a mouthful of ice-cream on a hot summer day because the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs has approved the Ehtaram-e-Ramazan Bill and it just made the coming month really difficult for those who can’t fast.

According to the amendment in the bill, people who are seen eating, drinking or smoking in public will be sentenced to three months in jail in addition to paying a fine of Rs500. If you think you can hide inside a café and grab a quick bite then those plans have also been taken care of by the standing committee.

The ordinance states that restaurant owners who violate the act (and are open during the fasting hours) will be fined Rs25000 instead of the earlier Rs500.

Apart from putting down the foot on eateries and people who dare to eat, they’ve also given warning to television and cinema owners. PEMRA has released its own code of conduct for the month while according to the bill, “[Cinemas] shall remain closed during the month of Ramazan from the time of sunset to the expiration of three hours thereafter.” In case of violation of law, cinema owners will be asked to pay a hefty fine of Rs500, 000.

The popular opinion on Twitter is that the bill is promoting intolerance instead of spreading the message of peace.

Oscar winning documentary maker, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, has a point here.

Someone pointed out that forcing people to observe Ramazan is not the biggest problem faced by Pakistan.

Mehar Khursheed, a journalist, pointed out what’s wrong with the act.

Nauman Raza, however, highlighted that the act doesn’t stop people from eating altogether during the month. They can live as they like in the privacy of their homes.