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Pakistan raids shisa

KARACHI: Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) has tightened the noose on restaurants serving sheesha, followed by a notification by the home department on Monday.

According to the KMC commissioner, Roshan Ali Sheikh, KMC raided two places, Damascus and Thali Inn, and confiscated 10 sheeshas.

The home department has banned sheesha under Section 144. However, the issue is not new. In 2009, the Sindh government?s health department issued Statutory Regulatory Order of 2009 which declared all public places to be completely smoke-free. It did not even allow designated smoking areas at work or public places. In May 2010, the Sindh Assembly unanimously passed a resolution against smoking sheesha in restaurants and public places. The government had issued notices to 22 restaurants in June 2011, but then became lax about it.

Meanwhile, the joints had continued to serve sheesha in rude defiance of the official orders issued.

However, this time, Commissioner Sheikh ordered his deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners of all the five districts to crackdown against, not only against the cafes but sheesha smokers as well.

While expressing his gratitude to the provincial government for introducing the ban, Sheikh said that the city administration was already raiding places because of the large number of complaints being received by them from concerned parents, who argued that smoking sheesha was often a precursor to the use of hard drugs. He said that a grand operation will be launched later this week, a plan has already been outlined for indiscriminate action against anyone involved in flouting the ban. ?We will not to succumb to any pressure whatsoever till all the sheesha joints are closed for good,? he vowed. ?This is a serious health hazard as identified by Pakistan Medical Association.?

Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2012.

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