Café owners in Pakistan ask government to remove sheesha ban

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A group of girls and boys smoking smoke a water pipe, also known as a narghile, as they sit with friends at home in Islamabad May 8, 2014. (Reuters)
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Owners of sheesha cafés in Karachi are addressing a news conference at the press club on November 15, 2019. The smoking device in question can also be seen in the image. (AN Photo)
Updated 17 November 2019

Café owners in Pakistan ask government to remove sheesha ban

  • The prohibition was ordered by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2015
  • Café owners say a regulated use of sheesha can help the country collect Rs100 million in sales tax from Karachi alone

KARACHI: Owners of sheesha cafés in Karachi on Friday urged the provincial administration of Sindh to regulate the use of sheesha – a glass-based instrument used to smoke flavored tobacco – in line with the World Health Organization rules since that would “create employment opportunities, earn the government nearly Rs100 million in revenue and promote tourism in the country.”
Addressing a news conference at the Karachi Press Club (KPC), owners and the legal counsel of All Pakistan Café and Restaurant Association (APCRA) said that provincial governments had not come up with any regulations despite clear orders from the apex court to prevent the misuse of sheesha.
“The ban on sheesha in cafés has led to its spread to people’s houses,” Syed Maaz Shah, the association’s coordinator said, adding: “A few days ago, two highly educated people, including a doctor, were sent to prison after police recovered sheesha from their car. A close relative of one of the detainees passed away due to cardiac arrest [caused by emotional distress] after she heard the news and saw their pictures plastered on social media.”
“When a thing is unregulated, it is misused. This is why we have filed an appeal in the apex court and are requesting the provincial authorities to legislate in accordance with the WHO regulations,” he continued.
Shah argued that sheesha was the modern form of hookah, which was used by people like Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, one of the founding fathers of the country, former prime minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, and a noted politician, Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan.
“I don’t say it’s not injurious to health. But it’s less injurious than cigarettes which are regulated,” he argued, adding that his association was taking an action against the cafés offering sheesha services to students.
“There are nearly 200 cafés in Karachi. Whereas the number of cafés in Pakistan’s other urban centers may accumulate to more than 2000,” he said. “We are ready to be regulate these places. In Karachi alone, the government can earn Rs100million from annual sales tax on such cafés.”
In 2015, the Supreme Court had asked provincial administrations to regulate the sale of sheesha while ordering to the closure of sheesha bars across Pakistan.
In July this year, the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services Regulation and Coordination had requested the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) to enact proper laws and allow sheesha smoking in the country.


England-Pakistan: ICC to use front foot no-ball tech for first time in test cricket

Updated 05 August 2020

England-Pakistan: ICC to use front foot no-ball tech for first time in test cricket

  • Responsibility to call no-balls when a bowler oversteps the mark currently lies with on-field umpires
  • Under new system TV umpire will monitor landing foot after each ball and tell umpires whether it was legal delivery

MANCHESTER: Front foot no-ball technology will be used for the first time on a trial basis in test cricket during the three-match series between England and Pakistan starting later on Wednesday, the International Cricket Council has said.
The responsibility to call no-balls when a bowler oversteps the mark currently lies with on-field umpires, but under the new system the TV umpire will monitor the landing foot after each ball and communicate to the umpires whether it was a legal delivery.
“Front foot no ball technology to be used in ICC World Test Championship series featuring England and Pakistan, with the support of both teams,” the world governing body tweeted.
“Performance of the technology in these tests will be reviewed before any decisions taken on its future use in test cricket.”
The ICC has already conducted successful trials of the technology across men’s 50-over international matches while it was also used at the women’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia earlier this year.
However, the governing body wants to ascertain the benefits of its use in the longest format of the game before deciding whether to widen its use.
England will host Pakistan in the three-test series at bio-secure venues in Manchester and Southampton.