If you can’t handle me eating before sunset, don’t fast

Published: August 6, 2011
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How immature do you have to be to require me or anybody else by law to respect your fasting?

If you are one of the spineless, weak-willed people who cannot handle seeing other people eating and drinking while you fast, you should probably not be fasting.

The infirmity of your faith is not my problem, nor anybody else’s, and does not deserve to be protected by the law.

Under the Ihtaram Ramazan Ordinance of 1981, two men were arrested in Sargodha on charges of eating in public. Yes, you read that correctly: eating in public – for the month of Ramazan at least – is a crime in Pakistan.

To those that support this law, I would like to pose the following question: how immature do you have to be to require me or anybody else by law to respect your fasting?

I have fasted every year for the entirety of Ramazan since I was 11 years old and never once have I had a problem with anybody eating in front of me. I am fasting this year as well, driving around all day and feeling thirsty and I still don’t have a problem with people drinking water in front of me while I am parched. My faith is not stronger than anybody else’s. I am just an adult who realises that not everybody lives the same kind of life I do and that not everybody has the same circumstances.

That this law is without logic should be self-evident to anyone willing to step out of their conspiracy theory cocoon for a minute. For instance, why is this law applied only during Ramazan and not during any other time when a large number of people are fasting, for example, the 10th of Muharram? Does the government keep track of how many people fast every day? And does it have a cut-off percentage before this law will be invoked?

Oh, and have we considered the fact that a very large percentage of this nation’s women don’t fast at least some days every year because of their menstrual cycles? Should none of them be allowed to buy food during the day?

I would, however, like to defend the right of people not to fast without any excuse. Why should the government have any right to tell me to fast or not to fast? And if I am not fasting, why should any private business be prevented from selling me food while others fast? Because some hypocritical bigot can’t handle it? I am sorry, but that is not a good enough excuse.

So to those who don’t fast, please eat as much as you want, drink as much as you want during the day. I, and the rest of this country’s adults, have no problem with it. It’s time we did away with this nonsensical legacy of the Zia era.

Do you think eating in public should be a criminal offence during Ramazan?

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farooq.tirmizi

Farooq Tirmizi

The author is an investment analyst. He tweets as @FarooqTirmizi (twitter.com/FarooqTirmizi)

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