Islamabad [Pakistan], September 27 (ANI): The issue of liquor permits to the Christian minorities sparked a debate at Pakistan's Punjab Assembly with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)'s minority leader Khalil Tahir Sindhu demanding immediate withdrawal of the liquor permit to the community.
On September 22, while demanding the removal of the liquor permit stigma from the Christian community, opposition members of the Punjab Assembly called for a test of MPAs, reported The Express Tribune.
PML-N's Khalil Tahir Sindhu highlighted the matter of issuing liquor permits to the Christian community and said, "issuing liquor permits in the name of minorities is malicious", and demanded that all assembly members should be tested for alcohol.
Responding to this, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Muhammad Basharat Raja said the non-Muslims did not belong only to the Christian community and the permits were also issued to foreigners.
He said, "PML-N has the federal government, MPA Sindhu should ask the prime minister to do something about the matter." Reacting to the remarks, PML-N lawmakers demanded the minister's liquor test, the Express Tribune reported.
As per the publication, Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan asked whether the government could ask someone for the test, at which PML-N MPAs Sindhu and Tariq Masih Gill reached near his dais and said they were ready for their test.
Another PML-N MPA said they had no objection if the word 'non-Muslim' was expunged from the liquor permit. Minster Basharat Raja challenged if their community would back the MPAs if they moved a bill on the private members' day.
The PML-N lawmakers asked what measures the government was taking to curb the easy availability of drugs and liquor at different points in the province, including outside hotels.
While the MPAs Ayesha Iqbal furthered the demand by saying that Lahore is in the grip of drugs. PML-N member Chaudhary Akhtar said that liquor is easily available and asked what measures the government was taking to curb the easy availability of drugs and liquor at different points in the province, including outside hotels, the Express Tribune reported.
A report was also presented in the Punjab Assembly, according to which the Punjab government recovered more than Rs 3,43,950,000 as excise duty on liquor in 2018-19.
According to the report, only one distillery is located factory in Punjab (Rawalpindi), with the production of 2,336,954 gallons of liquor of which 570,000 gallons were sold in Punjab alone, while the total alcohol consumption in the state was 942,551 gallons. (ANI)