Anyone who is found smoking, drinking or eating in public during the holy month of Ramazan will be fined Rs. 500 and will be imprisoned for three months. This new law was proposed by the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs on Wednesday and it was unanimously approved as the Ehtram-e-Ramazan (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
According to the proposed bill, the fine for hotel and restaurant owners violating the bill has also been increased from Rs. 500 to Rs. 25,000. TV channels and cinema houses found violating the law will face fines worth Rs. 500,000 or more.
The amendments in the bill were introduced by Senator Tanveer Khan during the Senate sitting which was held on January 16 and was referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs for further consideration. During an earlier meeting of the committee, the members suggested closing down cinema houses three hours early in the morning and later for three hours after Iftar during Ramazan.
Suggestion to close the cinema houses during the entire month across the country, was also proposed, however, it was not implemented.
While there are many people who applauded the move, there were others who criticized it, saying that it will lead to intolerance and will violate the rights of the minorities.
Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari also took to Twitter to condemn the new rule. “People are going to die from heat stroke and dehydration with this ridiculous law. Not everyone is able. This is not Islam,” she wrote.