THATTA, Oct 28: Civil society, political activists and health officials took out a rally on Monday to bring attention to the stakeholders on the alarming use and spread of the lucrative business of chewable products in Thatta district. They also called for proper legislation to contain these products such as gutka and mainpuri which were causing adverse impact on health of users.

Holding banners and chanting slogans the rally was led by Sindh Minister for Local Bodies Syed Owais Muzaffar Hashmi and former MPA Humaira Alwani. The participants marched on the National Highway from Edhi Center to Thatta Press Club and staged a sit-in where the speakers spoke against gutka and mainpuri menace.

Ms Alwani said that under the directives of the local bodies’ minister party activists and other stakeholders had launched this campaign to eradicate gutka and other harmful chewable products that is increasingly being used by young children endangering their lives.

She said that she had introduced and submitted a bill “Control of Mainpuri and Gutka Bill 2009” in the Sindh Assembly when she was an MPA.

“The bill was aimed at controlling the selling and consumption of the hazardous chewable products that are extremely detrimental to health. I am hopeful that the legislation would be carried out soon,” she said.

She claimed that within the last one year alone nearly 3,000 oral cancer patients from Thatta district had lost their lives due to the prolonged use of gutka.

District Health Officer Thatta Dr Zahoor Memon said that tobacco consumption had become a big challenge. “Out of 90 per cent tobacco-related oral cancer cases, 82 per cent pertain to mouth and throat,” he said.

The consumption of gutka was relatively high in school going children, some as young as 8 years he added.

Nazir Jakhro of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan insisted that there should be a political bill that allows the administration to go tough on sellers of harmful chewable products. “There are numerous paan beedi cabins that are openly selling gutka and its demand is so high that some of the cabins are selling anywhere between 200 to 300 kilograms of gutka daily,” he claimed.

Other speakers included a dental surgeon Dr Sham Lal, Ismail Memon and Syed Murad Ali Shah Ameerkhani who told the rally participants that 85 per cent cases of oral mouth cancer reported in various hospitals were in Thatta and regrettably the manufacturing, selling and use of gutka was not punishable under the law and whenever the police rounded up and produced all those who were involved in the menace easily obtained bail from the courts.

They said the legislation in this regard has become vital and suggested that the manufacturers, users and traffickers should be made to pay heavy penalties and given punishment of up to seven years in jail.

SPLA protest demonstration

The Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association in Thatta District held a protest demonstration at the local press club on Monday for the removal of the allegedly incompetent and corrupt administration of the Board of Education of Hyderabad.

According to the press release, the rally was led by the president of the SPLA Thatta Chapter Ghulam Mustafa Kaka and other academics who marched through the main thoroughfare and converged at the Thatta Press Club. Professors Munir Awan, Habibullah Rana, Rahim Ali Balal, Dialwar Awan and Zahid Khatti said that the Hyderabad board management was denying their legitimate demands since the last couple of months.

They said that if their demands were not accepted the SPLA would extend the protest throughout the province and will not be obliged to carry out any instructions and directives of the board.

Opinion

Editorial

More pledges
25 May, 2024

More pledges

THE administration’s campaign to bring Gulf investment to Pakistan continues apace, with the prime minister...
Pemra overreach
25 May, 2024

Pemra overreach

IT seems, at best, a misguided measure and, at worst, an attempt to abuse regulatory power to silence the media. A...
Enduring threat
25 May, 2024

Enduring threat

THE death this week of journalist Nasrullah Gadani, who succumbed to injuries after being attacked by gunmen, is yet...
IMF’s unease
Updated 24 May, 2024

IMF’s unease

It is clear that the next phase of economic stabilisation will be very tough for most of the population.
Belated recognition
24 May, 2024

Belated recognition

WITH Wednesday’s announcement by three European states that they intend to recognise Palestine as a state later...
App for GBV survivors
24 May, 2024

App for GBV survivors

GENDER-based violence is caught between two worlds: one sees it as a crime, the other as ‘convention’. The ...