Forget the weapons – he was carrying alcohol! Taubah Taubah!

Published: November 1, 2016
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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Revenue Minister Amin Gandapur has been in the news ever since Kalashnikov rifles were recovered from his vehicle. PHOTO: PINTEREST

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Revenue Minister Amin Gandapur has been in the news ever since Kalashnikov rifles were recovered from his vehicle. The problem wasn’t the rifles though. The problem was the bottle of whiskey.

This is not the first time that possession of alcohol by a public figure has given our moral police a field day, and nor will this be the last. Back in 2011, Attiqa Odho was caught at Islamabad Airport with wine bottles in her luggage and the daggers were out. More recently, Jamshed Dasti, the MNA from Muzzafargarh, made a lot of noise when empty alcohol bottles were discovered outside the parliament lodges. Taking the moral policing even further, a petition was recently submitted in the Sindh High Court against liquor stores Karachi.

Despite being banned for Muslims in 1977, most of the alcohol consumed in the country today is by the Muslim population. Whether it’s the licensed wine shops in Sindh, or bootleggers operating in other parts of the country, access to alcohol is hardly difficult. But even though the consumption is wide-spread, the moral police is out for blood every time sometime is ‘caught’ in the possession of these supposed evil beverages. Once should perhaps ask them – which one of Pakistan’s problems did the ban on alcohol fix after 1977? Additionally, which one of the country’s problems today, if any, is a result of alcohol consumption?

Like many of the ills facing Pakistan today, our problem with alcohol stems from the same thing many of our other problem stem from: the inability to leave a fellow person’s personal life alone. The beverage a person consumes, the number of prayers he or she offers, the status of his or her romantic life etcetera are not personal matters – they are public matters which going by the parameters created by our moral police, define the character of our fellow person.

While the moral police has been busy rejoicing every time alcohol is confiscated, what they have failed to notice is that not having legal access to alcohol has resulted in an increase in the shift towards street drugs. As things stand today, Pakistan has one of the highest heroin addiction rates in the world. Not only that, there has been a significant rise in the number of deaths via poisonous alcohol amongst people who cannot afford higher grade alcohol and thus rely on home-made brews which have the potential of containing methanol. Most recently 10 people lost their lives after consuming poisonous alcohol in Jehlum.

Where then, is the moral police when these deaths take place?

Fermented drinks have been running through the subcontinent’s veins as long ago as 1200 BC in the form of a beverage called Soma. More so, the history of distilled spirits began in the subcontinent in the geographical area that is – you guessed it – modern day Pakistan!

Pakistan is at the centre of a million problems, from political instability to an existential crisis against terrorism. The need of the hour is focusing on the bigger picture, and letting go of childish obsessions with supposed societal evils. None of these supposed evils have played a part in the state Pakistan finds itself in today. Alcohol did not give rise to terrorism. Alcohol did not give rise to extremism. Alcohol did not give rise to sectarian violence. Alcohol did not give rise to a fragile political system. Alcohol did not plant the seeds of a failing economy.

The moral police needs to take a take a step back, and concentrate on the real problems. Alcohol certainly isn’t one of them.

salman Zafar

Salman Zafar

The writer works in the Education Sector and tweets as @salmanzafar1985 (twitter.com/salmanzafar1985)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • fze

    Ali ameen Gandapur is the same person who ran away with a filled ballot box during elections. Not to comply to law seems to be his forte.Recommend

  • Parvez

    You called it like it is….well said.
    When our society judges a woman’s piety by the number of layers of clothing she wears and by the height of a mans shalwar above his ankles ……. the alarm bell should ring that something is very wrong.
    Misplaced, misconstrued morality breeds hypocrisy as a byproduct…….we are witnessing it and it needs to be checked.Recommend

  • Hassan Khan

    Please check your facts Sir. It wasnt alcohol that was recovered from the gentlemans car, rather honey. Yes, plain old honey. Everytime Amin Gandapur heads out on an exhausting venture he requires copious amounts of honey. Please zoom in on his picture – are you telling me that, that isnt in fact a bear just out to get his daily fix of fructose and glucose? check your facts please.Recommend

  • AA_Southpaw

    So you didn’t write about his weapons!

    Instead wrote about the reaction of some people to his wiskey.

    Taubah Taubah .

    priorities.Recommend

  • M Waqas Sajid

    Consumption of alcohol creates an impact on the society which can’t be neglected. And the impact which it creates is altogether negative.
    You argument is, that, what if someone uses Alcohol, its his personal act, so WHY ban?
    Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    And Imran Khan simply loves to have people like Ali Ameen Gandapur in his party! And the Jamat-e-Islami is Imran Khan’s ally for this reason alone?Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    And of course, throughout Pakistan honey has always been sold in Black Label Whiskey bottles!Recommend

  • fze

    JI has their own axe to grind. JI and PTI together is an unholy alliance but then in politics anything is possible to achieve the end. My last line is for Ameen Gundapur and not for IK or PTI. I consider IK a naive politician more than anything.Recommend

  • farhan

    people write such thing to justify if they can can do these things in their personal life without being asked..but in islam if you drink you will be judged and be punished as per shariahRecommend

  • Mike Pilgrim

    Everyone knows it was Double Black HoneyRecommend

  • Rex Minor

    Is it a crime to carry alcohal in Pakistan? If not what is the fuss about?

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Swipe

    Looks like someone’s a fan of alcohol and wants it legitimised nationally. As if pak doesn’t have enough problems on its plate already that it needs to introduce alcohol induced problems to the society. The fact that a some people died taking it illegally is neither here nor there… Do we start legalising all criminal acts on that excuse? Recommend