Bakhtawar
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The senate has recently passed a bill with which has attached severe punishments to eating and drinking in public during Ramazan. The bill is has come under fire for its archaic interpretation of Islamic tradition.

Under the spirit of “protecting the holiness”, the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs on Wednesday unanimously approved the Ehtram-e-Ramazan (Amendment) Bill, 2017 under which the fine for the hotel owners – violating the Ehtram-e-Ramazan Ordinance, 1981 – has been increased from Rs500 to Rs25,000.

Read More: What is the government up to with Ramazan bill & PTA:…

Ramzan calls upon us to show tolerance and acceptability. Yet, the forceful commitment on part of the upper house of the parliament to “implement “ the Ehtram e Ramazan bill if anything is contrary to the spirit of Ramazan.

The bill entails punishment for people who are found eating and drinking openly during the venerated month. The penalty is set at a fine of Rs500 and 3 months of incarceration. The architect of the bill, Senator Tanveer Khan called for strict action against those found guilty of violations. Furthermore, TV Channels and Cinema which flout the clauses will be fined a hefty amount in excess of half a million. Committee members gave options to maintain the purity of the month, which ranged from partial to full closure of cinema houses across the country.

The dogmatic approach adopted by the Senate towards Islam and its efforts to quell public debate on this issue has attracted the ire of the public and several prominent figures. Criticism of this bill is gaining traction on social media.
Bakhtawar Bhutto also came out strongly against the bill. She tweeted that people could die of heatstroke or dehydration because of this bill also stating that “This is not Islam”.

She later tweeted a clarification saying that people have the strength to resist the temptation of eating and drinking during fasting hours. She also said that not everyone will be fasting for example school children, the sick, and the elderly.

The issue gained traction on twitter as many others also expressed their indignation over the hard-line stance of the Senate.

 

Ramzan calls upon us to show tolerance and acceptability. Yet, the forceful commitment on part of the upper house of the parliament to “implement “ the Ehtram e Ramazan bill if anything is contrary to the spirit of Ramazan. The state has to understand that the respect for the holy month is well and truly in the hearts of the majority; it will not be lessened or increased by imposing punitive measures. The current issue Pakistan is facing is extremism and intolerance and neither of these actions by the government is lessening it – rather they are providing a fodder for those very extremists.

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