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Alcohol in Pakistan: The prohibition and after

Published Dec 05, 2013 10:03am


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One of my favourite pastimes is sharing a drink with close friends and talking late into the night about a million things, in spite of the fact that I’m not a big drinker – or rather haven’t been one for over a decade now.

Unlike most fans of sinful beverages in Pakistan, I only seldom keep alcoholic drinks at home. But those who do (in Karachi), this is perhaps one of the only reasons they like living in this city.

After all, Karachi (and the rest of the Sindh province) is the only place in Pakistan where one can buy alcoholic beverages rather easily.

Licenced ‘wine shops’ are a plenty and bootleggers (dealing in smuggled whisky, vodka and beer brands) operate freely.

When I turned 10 in 1977, religious political parties had spun alcohol into a national issue.

I remember thinking what all the fuss was about because as a child I’d seen nightclubs, bars and roadside cafes in Karachi (that served alcohol) operating like any entertainment business would.

But, of course, such thinking was emanating from a 10-year-old boy who could not understand the political and theological aspects behind the religious parties’ crusade against alcohol.

Once while coming back from a marriage ceremony that I had attended with my grandparents (during the height of the religious parties’ movement against the Bhutto regime in March 1977), our car got caught up in a riot at Karachi’s Lucky Star area.

All I remember of the episode was dozens of youth with sticks smashing traffic signals and then breaking into two liquor stores there. They had already destroyed the huge neon sign of Pakistan’s Murree Beer that stood on top of an apartment building in the same area.

This is what I saw that day: A few young men would raise slogans while breaking whiskey, gin, vodka and beer bottles in the two shops. But most young men, I remember, would go into the shops and come out carrying as many beer and whiskey bottles they could lay their hands on and run away with them into narrow lanes.

But the starkest memory I have of the episode is that of young men breaking into the two liquor stores, coming out with a bottle or two of Pakistani whisky, and swigging the stuff down their throats right there on the pavement outside the shops, before the stores eventually went up in flames.

A mob gathers outside the Karachi University during the religious parties’ movement against the Z A. Bhutto regime in April 1977.
A mob gathers outside the Karachi University during the religious parties’ movement against the Z A. Bhutto regime in April 1977.
Obviously, as a 10-year-old I just couldn’t understand why men who were supposedly against the sale and consumption of alcohol in Pakistan (on religious grounds), would steal the merchandise of liquor stores for their own consumption and even drink it right there before putting the shops on fire.

Despite the violence and the eventual prohibition on the (open) sale of alcohol and bars in Pakistan in April 1977, Pakistanis never did stop drinking.

In fact according to many surveys, cases of alcoholism grew two-fold in the 1980s and so did cases of death and disease caused by tainted whiskey (‘moonshine’).

Illegal and shady breweries producing cheap whiskey for the consumption of those from the working and peasant classes were not a new phenomenon in Pakistan.

But when alcohol was legal in Pakistan, bars, cafes and liquor stores kept and sold alcoholic beverages from established breweries. These produced whiskey, vodka, gin and beer brands that came with various price tags.

For example, a bar or a liquor store would store both expensive brands, as well as inexpensive ones, but both would come from established breweries.

After the ban however, when liquor stores were only allowed to sell their products to non-Muslims, prices of alcoholic beverages skyrocketed.

August 2013: Police in Faisalabad stand over confiscated bottles of toxic whiskey that was brewed by illegal brewers and killed over 15 men. Such brewers mostly use empty bottles of established whiskey brands.
August 2013: Police in Faisalabad stand over confiscated bottles of toxic whiskey that was brewed by illegal brewers and killed over 15 men. Such brewers mostly use empty bottles of established whiskey brands.
Though the beverages were still in the reach of upper and middle-class Pakistanis who drank, drinkers from the working and peasant classes could not keep up with the rising prices.

They began to squarely depend on liquor being produced by the shady moonshine makers and many poor and working-class Pakistanis continue to lose their lives due to the tainted and underprepared whiskey (Katchi Sharab) produced by illegal brewers.

However, over the decades, and with Pakistan continuing to face the ever-growing issues of religious and sectarian violence, burgeoning crime rates and political and economic upheavals, alcohol as a burning moral issue has greatly receded into the background.

Though it is still banned, it is easily available in ‘wine shops’, some restaurants and from bootleggers, especially in the Sindh province and its capital, Karachi.

What’s more, Pakistan’s oldest and largest brewery, Murree Brewery, continues to do roaring business and is one of the biggest tax-paying set-ups in Pakistan.

Nobody throws up their arms anymore and shouts out loud moralistic platitudes if they find out that someone drinks. It’s an issue that is just not talked about much anymore.

For example, some religious parties have attempted to trigger a number of campaigns against liquor stores in Karachi, but have failed to generate any worthwhile momentum and support from the people. A far cry from what these parties achieved in this regard in 1977.

The only time the debate on alcohol is revived (in the media) is when people die from consuming cheap tainted whiskey.

And even then, newspaper reports and analysts do not shy away anymore from alluding that moonshiners thrive mainly due to the alcohol ban in the country that has greatly jacked-up the prices of good quality alcoholic beverages available in the legal ‘wine shops.’

The message is that the 1977 prohibition failed to stop many Pakistanis from consuming alcohol. In fact, the ban continues to drive a number of poor men into consuming poisonous whiskey, or they end up becoming drug addicts.

When the sale of alcoholic beverages was prohibited in April 1977 in Pakistan, it was more of a political decision than a moral one.

Under pressure from an animated protest movement by an alliance of various right-wing political parties (Pakistan National Alliance [PNA]), Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto began to pragmatically address and agree to some of the demands made by the PNA leaders.

Bhutto’s government had come to power through the popular vote and had made a number of socialist promises.

However, by 1977 the government was facing harsh criticism from its right-wing opponents (especially in the major urban centers of the country).

By the time Bhutto went in for a reelection in 1977, his government was embroiled in grave economic problems (triggered by the international oil crises, subsequent inflation, and the failure of the Bhutto regime’s nationalisation policies that had seen a number of industries, banks and educational institutions suffer from incompetent management and rising corruption.

During his tenure he had also tried to mix populist socialist and secular notions of social democracy with certain aspects of Political Islam (that the party’s ideologues called ‘Islamic Socialism’).

Though the idea was to blunt the opposition coming from the right-wing religious groups, the careless fusion actually regenerated these groups that had otherwise been swept aside during the 1970 general elections.

For instance, as a catch-all slogan, the PNA, led by fundamentalist parties demanded that Pakistan be governed by a ‘Nizam-e-Mustafa’ (Shariah).

Even though this was explained with the help of modern writings of Islamic scholars such as Jamat-i-Islami chief, Abul Ala Maududi, Bhutto’s Islamic Socialism had unwittingly given credence to certain myths that began being advocated as historical facts.

The historical explanation of PNA’s Nizam-e-Mustafa was rooted in one such myth: That Pakistan had come into being through divine credence so that it could become the bastion of Islam in the world.

Secondly, when in 1973, Bhutto purged his own party, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), by expelling a number of its left-wing ideologues, he (like Anwar Sadat in Egypt), overestimated the threat posed to his government by the pro-Soviet far-left groups.

And again like Sadat, Bhutto thought that he could deflect opposition from the Islamists by giving them a free hand on university campuses that were until then hotbeds of left-wing thought and action.

By 1973 college and university campuses in Karachi and Lahore had witnessed a surge in the popularity and influence of the JI’s student wing the Islami Jamiat Taleba (IJT).

However, it was also true that in the event of the ineffectual and divided opposition against Bhutto in the parliament and the streets, his opponents, especially in the shape of the mohajirs (Urdu speakers) in Karachi and the right-wing anti-Bhutto bourgeoisie in the Punjab, largely expressed their opposition to Bhutto’s populist regime through the IJT in educational institutions.

During the campaigning of the 1977 election, the PNA accused Bhutto of being a drunk and a womaniser, and resolved that if the people voted PNA into power it would ‘rid the society of the evils of alcohol.’

During a rally in Lahore the same year, Bhutto responded by telling the crowds: ‘Haan mein sharab peeta hoon, laikan awam ka khoon nahi peeta!’ (Yes, I drink, but I do not drink the people’s blood).

He was lashing out at the PNA leaders who were being facilitated and funded by those industrialists whose businesses he had nationalised.

During a rally in Lahore in 1977, Bhutto mocked his opponents by telling the crowd that, ‘Haan mein sharab peeta hoon .. laikan awam ka khoon nahi peeta!’ (Yes I drink, but I do not drink the people’s blood).
During a rally in Lahore in 1977, Bhutto mocked his opponents by telling the crowd that, ‘Haan mein sharab peeta hoon .. laikan awam ka khoon nahi peeta!’ (Yes I drink, but I do not drink the people’s blood).

This was not the first time that the right-wing religious parties had blamed alcohol for the economic, political and social sufferings of the people.

The youth wing of the fundamentalist Majlis-e-Ahrar had attacked coffee houses serving alcoholic drinks in Lahore during the 1954 anti-Ahmadi riots.

Then, in the late 1960s, the student wing of the JI, (the IJT) began a movement against liquor stores and bars in Karachi when (in 1967) the progressive Islamic scholar, Dr. Fazalur Rahman Malik, claimed on TV that according to the hanafi mathab (jurisprudence) that the majority of Pakistan’s Sunni Muslims followed, only some alcoholic beverages were haraam (unlawful) in Islam. He then went on to suggest that there was nothing wrong in consuming beer.

In response to Rahman’s statement, JI asked him to be exiled and IJT activists attacked a number of liquor stores, hoardings and billboards advertising the Pakistani made Murree Beer in Karachi.

Nevertheless, the IJT campaign did not resonate with the public that was already embroiled in the largely left-wing student and labor movement against the Ayub Khan dictatorship, even though Rahman did leave the country and settled in the US as a Professor of Islamic Studies at the Chicago University.

Famous leftist poet Habib Jalib (left) enjoys a drink with a few journalists and intellectuals at a restaurant in Karachi in 1975.
Famous leftist poet Habib Jalib (left) enjoys a drink with a few journalists and intellectuals at a restaurant in Karachi in 1975.

After the loss of East Pakistan (that broke away and became Bangladesh) in 1971 and the subsequent defeat of the Pakistan army at the hands of their Indian counterparts, JI accused the Pakistani Generals’ liking for ‘wine and women’ as one of the main causes of Pakistan’s defeat in the war.

In 1974, Prime Minister Bhutto banned alcohol in the army mess halls, although no such action was taken against bars, nightclubs, coffee houses and liquor stores in the cities.

Throughout the Bhutto regime, IJT tried to initiate various campaigns against liquor stores and nightclubs but it failed to find much public support – until the 1977 PNA movement.

After Bhutto’s PPP swept the National Assembly polls in the 1977 election, PNA claimed that the results were manipulated and that there were widespread cases of fraud undertaken by government agents during the polling.

After boycotting the Provincial Assembly elections, the PNA began a tense protest movement.

Display window of a liquor store in 1976.
Display window of a liquor store in 1976.
The movement demanded Bhutto’s resignation. The movement got its strongest support in Karachi where thousands of right-wing students, shopkeepers, businessmen and professionals agitated in the streets and clashed head-on with the police. The working classes largely stayed away.

A number of liquor stores and nightclubs were also attacked and looted. So when Bhutto got into a dialogue with the PNA, he agreed to close down all bars, liquor stores and nightclubs.

Just when it seemed that a breakthrough was on the horizon between the PPP regime and the PNA, General Ziaul Haq pulled off a military coup in July 1977.

Although he also arrested PNA members along with PPP ministers and Bhutto himself, Zia adopted the PNA’s Islamic overtones and then invited the JI to help him turn Pakistan into becoming a “true Islamic state.”

The bans imposed on alcohol by Bhutto remained, but Zia added a punishment of 80 lashes to anyone defying the ban.

The prohibition has held. However, ‘wine shops’ licensed by the government to cater to Pakistan’s non-Muslim communities are allowed to function but only if they sell local beer, whisky, gin, vodka and rum brands and only sell them to foreigners and the country’s Christian, Hindu, Zoroastrian and other non-Muslim consumers who have a permit issued to them by the government.

Nevertheless, almost 90 per cent of the consumers of the brewery’s products are Muslim.

Some religious parties have continued to try initiating campaigns against even the licensed ‘wine shops’ but these campaigns have failed to generate any public momentum or backing whatsoever.

Some observers suggest that such campaigns have been a failure due to the bigger problem of heroin addiction in the cities.

It is also interesting to note that the use of deadly drugs such as heroin increased (almost tenfold) in Pakistan after the ban on liquor went into effect.

For example until 1979 there were only two reported cases of heroin addiction in Pakistan (reported at the Jinnah Hospital in Karachi); but by 1985, Pakistan had the world’s second largest population of heroin addicts.

Also starling is the fact that there has been little or almost no action by the country’s mainstream religious parties on the issue of heroin usage and sale.

Cases of heroin addiction increased dramatically after the prohibition on alcohol in Pakistan and its entry into the ‘anti-Soviet Afghan jihad.’ Interestingly, those religious parties that campaigned to ban alcohol in 1977 have taken little or no action on heroin addiction and sale.
Cases of heroin addiction increased dramatically after the prohibition on alcohol in Pakistan and its entry into the ‘anti-Soviet Afghan jihad.’ Interestingly, those religious parties that campaigned to ban alcohol in 1977 have taken little or no action on heroin addiction and sale.

I have been fortunate enough to travel across Europe and much of Asia in the last 10 years or so. One learns so much by engaging with and experiencing a variety of cultures and cuisine but, at least with me, there always comes a time (as a visitor in a foreign country), when I start craving good old Pakistani/Indian food.

In 2005, while traveling across Holland, Germany and France, the pangs and cravings for desi food struck me in the middle of a busy shopping district in Paris.

Luckily, I was able to spot a restaurant whose doorman was dressed in a traditional Pushtun dress. I don’t exactly remember the name of the place, but on inquiry, I was told it was owned by two middle-aged gentlemen – one an Indian (from Bangalore), and the other a Pakistani (from Lahore).

What’s more, the waiters too were a colorful South Asian mix: Pakistanis, Indians and Bangladeshis. It was a fantastic environment, and I was able to speak Urdu for the first time during my brief stay in a city where people even struggled with English. It was a joy looking at a menu that I could actually understand.

After ordering some biryani, nihari and a couple of rotis, I turned to the drinks section in the menu. I was delighted to note that the restaurant was also offering Indian beer, which I ordered right away.

Lighting myself a cigarette, I waited in enthusiastic anticipation. It took just five minutes for the waiter to bring the beer and lo and behold! I looked at the bottle and it was Murree Beer!

It was a pleasant little surreal moment discovering Pakistani beer in Paris. I, at once, called back the waiter and asked him what was the name of a Pakistani beer brand doing under ‘Indian Beers’ on the menu?

The middle-aged man was from Pakistan (Punjab), and he gave me a puzzled look: ‘Sorry, what did you say?’ he politely asked.

From Urdu, I switched to Punjabi: ‘Friend, this is a Pakistani beer brand …’

But before I could continue he interrupted: ‘Sir, goras (Caucasians) usually ask for Indian beer … you want an Indian brand?’

‘Absolutely not!’ I said. ‘I love Indian beer, but Murree has its moments too. Ask your bosses to put it under the heading of ‘Pakistani Beer,’ will you?’

Murree Beer bottles that are served in restaurants in Europe and the US are slightly different than the ones available in Pakistan.
Murree Beer bottles that are served in restaurants in Europe and the US are slightly different than the ones available in Pakistan.

Murree Beer is made by Murree Brewery Co., Pakistan’s oldest brewery. It was established in 1860 near the famous resort town of Murree in the Punjab province of what is now Pakistan.

In the 1920s the brewery was moved to Rawalpindi where it still stands. In the 1960s, Murree, which until then was famous for its beers, introduced malt whisky, and by the early 1970s, it was also producing vodka and gin.

Before prohibition on the sale of alcohol was imposed in Pakistan in April 1977, various foreign whisky and beer brands were available in bars, liquor shops and clubs in the main urban areas of the country; but Murree remained to be the leading (and most affordable) brand.

Former Pakistani opening batsman, Sadiq, and captain Mushtaq, celebrate Pakistan’ cricket team’s victory against Australia in 1976. With a pint of beer.
Former Pakistani opening batsman, Sadiq, and captain Mushtaq, celebrate Pakistan’ cricket team’s victory against Australia in 1976. With a pint of beer.

In fact Murree’s popularity (especially among young urban middle-class Pakistanis) was such that it started to advertise its beer in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Hoardings and billboards carrying images of Murree Beer went up, mostly in Karachi, with the biggest being a neon sign put on top of a six-storied building in Karachi’s Lucky Star area in the shopping vicinity of Saddar.

An early 1970s ‘Wine & Spirits’ menu of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). PIA was considered to be one of the 10 best airlines in the world between 1965 and 1979.
An early 1970s ‘Wine & Spirits’ menu of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). PIA was considered to be one of the 10 best airlines in the world between 1965 and 1979.

In the 1970s, Murree was competing with various imported beer and whisky brands, but it continued to do well because it was mostly catering to a growing middle-class market to which imported alcoholic brands were an expensive luxury.

There were a few other local brands as well, but none of them survived the prohibition on alcohol in April 1977.

Apart from the fact that more than 90 per cent of the customers of the ‘licensed wine shops’ were/are Muslims, the 1980s and 1990s also saw a dramatic rise in cases of heroin and tranquilizer addiction.

What’s more, though quality Murree brands are available in these shops, their prices have risen, leaving many lower-middle and ‘underclass’ Pakistanis to consume inferior and dangerous underprepared alcoholic beverages sold by shady bootlegging mafias operating in the impoverished areas of urban Pakistan.

Also, ever since the ban on alcohol, liquor smugglers and dealers have been turning a profit with contraband alcoholic drinks.

Trucks bring vodka in from China across the mountains along the country’s northern border, while ships unload cargos of beer and whiskey from Europe at the port of Karachi.

Though the disruptive growth of heroin and bootlegging mafias has been a natural consequence of the long ban, the irony is, ever since the 1980s, the number of chronic alcoholics in Pakistan has witnessed a rapid increase.

This ad began to appear in Pakistani newspapers from 2011.
This ad began to appear in Pakistani newspapers from 2011.

Murree Brewery is one of the biggest tax-paying companies in Pakistan. Ever since 1977, it has survived the various waves of imposed piety and convoluted expressions of state-sanctioned faith, which, on most occasions, has only managed to spell political, cultural and even spiritual dichotomies in Pakistan.

Most Pakistanis usually remain silent on the issue of the prohibition on alcohol and the mostly negative effects that this ban has had on a society in which the consumption of alcohol (among large sections across all classes in both urban and rural areas) remains to be a common occurrence and habit.

Of course, the conservative elements simply refuse to look for a more moderate solution, whereas others have suggested that the lifting of the ban will not only gradually rid the country of bootlegging and heroin mafias, the rate of alcoholism and the deaths caused by inferior quality liquor in the large shanty towns of the country will come down as well.

The conservatives just cannot link alcohol anymore with a number of political, economic and spiritual issues that have continued to rain in on the people of Pakistan for past many decades.

The anti-alcohol campaign managed to succeed in the late 1970s because the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages was convolutedly propagated as one of the main reason behind the country’s many ills.

However, after the ban not only have these ills (such as crime) grown but newer ones such as sectarian violence, cases of religious bigotry, violence against women, and extremist terrorism have emerged.

Alcohol in Muslim-majority countries: 1

• Algeria (Completely legal) 2
• Albania (Completely legal)
• Azerbaijan (Completely legal)
• Bahrain (Conditionally legal) 3
• Bangladesh (Partially legal) 4
• Bosnia (Completely legal)
• Brunei (Completely banned)
• Burkina Faso (Completely legal)
• Chad (Completely legal)
• Comoros (Completely legal)
• Djibouti (NA)
• Egypt (Completely legal)
• Gambia (Partially legal) 5
• Guinea (NA)
• Indonesia (Completely legal)
• Iran (Completely banned)
• Iraq (Conditionally legal) 6
• Jordan (Completely legal)
• Kazakhstan (Completely legal)
• Kosovo (Completely legal)
• Kuwait (Completely banned)
• Kyrgyzstan (Completely legal)
• Lebanon (Completely legal)
• Libya (Completely banned)
• Malaysia (Conditionally legal) 7
• Maldives (Conditionally legal) 8
• Mali (Completely legal)
• Mauritania (Completely banned)
• Mayotte (Completely legal)
• Morocco (Completely legal)
• Niger (Completely legal)
• Oman (Partially legal) 9
• Pakistan (Partially legal) 10
• Palestinian territory (Completely legal)
• Qatar (Partially legal)
• Saudi Arabia (Completely banned)
• Senegal (Completely legal)
• Sierra Leone (Completely legal)
• Somalia (Completely banned)
• Sudan (Partially legal) 12
• Syria (Completely legal)
• Tajikistan (Partially legal) [13]
• Tunisia (Completely legal)
• Turkey (Completely legal)
• Turkmenistan (Completely legal)
• UAE (Partially legal) [14]
• Uzbekistan (Completely legal)
• Western Sahara (Completely legal)
• Yemen (Completely banned)

1 Alcohol use in predominantly Muslim regions of the world increased by 25 per cent between 2005 and 2010.
2 Alcohol sales are prohibited during the month of Ramazan.
3 Consumption only allowed at bars and designated restaurants.
4 Though alcohol is banned in Bangladesh but in 2010, the government allowed the sale of beer that has 5 (or less) per cent alcohol content.
5 Sale only allowed to non-Muslims.
6 Only legal in large cities.
7 Banned in the states of Kelantan and Terengganu. Legal only in licensed restaurants and bars. 8 Legal only at tourist resorts.
9 Legal at licensed hotel bars in the city of Muscat.
10 Available to non-Muslims at licensed liquor stores and hotel bars. Sales (through stores) not allowed in the month of Ramazan and on Fridays.
11 Available to non-Muslims at licensed hotels.
12 Legal only in the Christian-majority areas in South Sudan.
[13] Available in hotels, stores and bars but only to non-Muslims.
[14] Legal in hotels, restaurants and bars in Dubai.
-Source: Brookston Beer Bulletin

References & Sources:

W Haider, MA Chaudhry, Prevalence of Alcoholism in Pakistan (Biomedica, 2008).
Santosh C. Saha, Thomas K. Carr, Religious Fundamentalism in Developing Countries (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001) p.21
S. Akbar Zaidi, Issues in Pakistan’s Economy (Oxford University Press, 2005).
Nafisa Hoodbhoy, Abroad the Democracy Train (Anthem Press, 2011) p.xxix
Christopher Candland, Labour, Democratization & Development in India & Pakistan (Routledge, 2007) p.85 L Michalak, K Trocki, Alcohol and Islam, (Hein, 2006) p.523
Ale under the veil’: Jonathan Foreman (The Telegraph, 24 March, 2012).
Alcoholism booms in Pakistan’: Declan Walsh (The Guardian, 27 December, 2010).


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Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and He is also the author of two books on the social history of Pakistan, End of the Past and The Pakistan Anti-Hero.

He tweets @NadeemfParacha

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (123) Closed

IBN-E-ASHFAQUE Dec 05, 2013 10:22am

The Quran advises muslims to hold tightly to the rope of Allah. Consumption of liqour is harmful for humanity as is witnessed globally and prohibited for muslims. If muslims are in violation of it, they will incur Allah's wrath, as we all are seeing it in and around the country. May Allah guide us towards the straight and just path that leads to paradise. Ameen.

Anil Nair Dec 05, 2013 10:25am

Vices > Religion

Religion loses every time when pitted against biological impulses. In the case of Alcohol, banning it would see characters like Al Capone rise up

ashraf gul Dec 05, 2013 10:28am

Excellent article pal nadeem. Like myself, you are also a man of few words and more pegs.

Najma Dec 05, 2013 10:28am

"Why don't they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as well as prohibition did, in five years Americans would be the smartest race of people on Earth." Will Rogers

Kahnum Dec 05, 2013 10:31am

" Liquor prohibition led to the rise of organized crime in America, and drug prohibition has led to the rise of the gang problems we have now. " Drew Carey. Is this not we are witnessing in Pakistan. Repeal Phohibition. "Prohibition didn't work in the Garden of Eden. Adam ate the apple" Vicente Fox- Mexico President

Kahnum Dec 05, 2013 10:34am

Check out the prohibition photos in the USA

Kahnum Dec 05, 2013 10:35am

So how many Al Capones in Karachi?

Vijay K Dec 05, 2013 10:56am

I visited Yemen some years ago and though alcohol is banned there, the 'non-alcoholic' beer still gives a bit of a buzz (the local maulvi, my friend, told me that). Besides, the people eat 'kat', a hallucinogen, from 3 pm to 10 pm every day. I will reserve my comments about the alcohol consumed by the royals in Saudi.. I know because I was their doctor. Question is, why do we humans want to escape from reality, even for a brief while? Alcohol releases dopamine in the brain, not sure if it releases serotonin as well. Is that why we like it? Would appreciate readers comments on how alcohol affects the neurotransmitters in the brain and why we take it.

Vijay K Dec 05, 2013 10:58am

@IBN-E-ASHFAQUE: You need the help of AA

Not required Dec 05, 2013 11:00am

@IBN-E-ASHFAQUE: But how can Allah be wrathful? How can he be angry? Why would he punish? Isn't he most merciful? If he is angry and going to punish then my mom and dad are more merciful than him. #contradiction

PUNJABISTAN Dec 05, 2013 11:20am

I like the part about how the Rioters were the first ones to Guzzle the Liqour after looting the Liqour stores. the Newspapers in those days showed pictures of Bearded "Mullahs" drinking the most. You can watch the Mullahs drinking and dancing with Prostitutes on YOU TUBE. In a recent report on yahoo and other media, Pakistan has the highest number of people watching PORN in the WORLD.

Syed Mahmood Dec 05, 2013 11:21am

I'm a muslim born in karachi and having lived in the state for over 40yrs fell pray to alcohol. 3 dwi's (driving under the influence), Luckily I'm blessed not having killed anyone or myself, today I'm an active member of Alcoholic Anonymous and thank my higher power on an hourly bases for the freedom of bondage from alcohol. Alcohol does but three things, it takes ones honesty, open-mindness, and willingness to face life on lifes terms. You need not believe me, give it a shot and ask yourself why !!!

Hussain Saqib Dec 05, 2013 11:29am

A brilliant account but some corrections are in order. The PNA movement in 1977 was not for the so-called Nizam-e-Mustafa, it was against election rigging. But when the top order opposition leaders were jailed, the movement was hijacked by fundos and to attract people to their "cause", they promised enforcement of Sharia. Bhutto did not cede territory in campuses to IJT by design; they captured initially through victim-hood by posing as very "sharif" and "mazloom" students being roughed up by "Surkhas". Then they hired goons to kill and coerce the opponents. Rest is history.

Shehryar Dec 05, 2013 11:33am

@IBN-E-ASHFAQUE: I say let people live and be responsible for their own morality. It is not up to anyone other than God to play God and pass judgement.

mimi sur Dec 05, 2013 11:40am

Alcohol is the oldest drink and prostitution is the oldest trade . Any religion or community who imposes a ban on these , will be wiped out eventually . The only way you can control these by controlling your minds , mullah's sermon and religion's dictum won't work.

Riaz Haq Dec 05, 2013 11:50am

The Americans did not stop drinking during prohibition years either. In fact, moonshine made great fortunes for people ranging from Joseph P. Kennedy to Al Capone.

Arman Dec 05, 2013 11:56am

Correction: I believe Mushtaq and Sadiq are enjoying 350ml glasses of beer, a pint is considerably larger (570ml) and are usually served in larger mugs in Germany and some other EU countries and in glasses in the UK, Aus and the US,

Najma Dec 05, 2013 12:00pm

@Syed Mahmood: You are wrong on all three accounts.

Hamza Noor Dec 05, 2013 12:00pm

In a commodity based society every thing appears in the form of that which it is not.

We see freedom in commodities or commodity consumption but commodities are not freedom nor can they be a source of freedom.Libertarians see commodity consumption as true Freedom but they refuse to see that this commodity production is a source of unfreedom.

A portion of a commodities value is a result of surplus labor, which is exploitation. But for libertarians consumption of commodities, a by-product of exploitation, is freedom. We live in an irrational world where Tyranny is the source of freedom.

"With the liberal the idea of freedom thus degenerates into a mere advocacy of free enterprise-which is today reduced to a fiction by the hard reality of giant trusts and princely monopolies. This means the fullness of freedom for those whose income, leisure and security need no enhancing, and a mere pittance of liberty for the people, who may in vain attempt to make use of their democratic rights to gain shelter from the power of the owners of property"- Karl Polyani - The Great Transformation.

Najma Dec 05, 2013 12:02pm

@Shehryar: I am with you. Govt should not regulate morality.

Addy Dec 05, 2013 12:02pm

All this talk made me thirsty. Be back after a pint.

Tahir Dec 05, 2013 12:04pm

Nasha sharab main hota to naachtee botal. Its all in the head. Every person knows his or her own limits including the amount of alcholol consumption. Moreover, who will decide which Islam eg. sunni, shia, brevli etc. is correct when imposing it forcefully.

Myatic Dec 05, 2013 12:20pm

I am sorry but I would not want my children to have easy access to alcohol at street corner shops. I would rather have government ban cigarettes as well.

Saad Dec 05, 2013 12:21pm

You drink more diring prohibition,i think we all know that

Naveed A. Jami Dec 05, 2013 12:36pm

@IBN-E-ASHFAQUE: Enjoy the facts of the article rather then getting into morals or religious issues of drinking.

Naveed A. Jami Dec 05, 2013 12:40pm

Very interesting facts, after reading a few words I now can recognize its your writing. I like it. My heart sways back to 1970's when I saw bars and liquor shops getting demolished in PECHS, Karachi.

Mujaahid Dec 05, 2013 12:52pm

Nadeem! You should have mentioned that Alcohol with in itself is an Arabic word and discovered by Arab scientist, like most words with the prefix of Al - (Algebra, Algorithm etc). And for why there will be "Nehrain" of Sharaab and Honey in Heaven's but forbidden in this Garden of Eden. "Munafiqeen" is the only word which describes such attitude correctly. It is not the tool which is Halal or Haraam, It is the use of it, take knife for instance, a surgeon and a murderer both can utilize it with a clear difference of one saving life and other taking it. The real problem is "Fahash" over indulgence, abuse but for that matter anything's abuse will always result in bad effects. Eat too much "Obesity" Work too much "Fatigue".

Misbah Dec 05, 2013 12:55pm

Once again Nadeem F. Paracha has managed to bring out the most controversial issues out into the open. There is much to be written about the ridiculous ban on alcohol and i hope other open minded individuals take a stand and start speaking out against this religious tyranny that has been haunting our country ever since Bhutto's "Islamic Socialism" (an oxymoron). Apart from all the issues with alcohol mentioned by Paracha, there is also the fact that our tourism industry has declined greatly(to a point of non-existence) as Pakistan is considered a "dry" country for many foreigners where they can't even have a drink in public. There are no nightclubs or bars for people to have a good time and likewise the oldest Pakistani enterprise Muree Brewery PVT.LTD suffers yet still manages to retain itself. Its time that we speak out against this obsession with religion and start making logical conclusions about the problems this religion infected country of ours faces. Peace.

Hussain Ali Dec 05, 2013 12:56pm

Everybody's sin is nobody's sin, and everybody's crime is no crime at all.

Johar Dec 05, 2013 01:08pm

Nicely written article reflecting historical past but in some places it is implicating that violence has increased since alcohol ban and i do not agree with that. Heroine increase is thanks to Afghan war and not ban of alcohol. Violence is also contributed by massive population growth and total lack of govt policies for future including Mr Bhuttos. These days Western world is showing Ads on TV trying to convince people that it is really harmful for health and urging people to cut down. I will appreciate if there is a follow up article on analysis of the nations that have been drinking happily for centuries and what they learnt from it. This will help as it will take religion aside and purely provide an analysis based on facts.

Tony Clark Dec 05, 2013 01:12pm

Opium has replaced Alcohol . Aftanistan which imposes ISLAM in must rigid way produces 85% percent of opium. Opiuim was probably not there 1400 yrs back. so ISLAM does not prohibit its consumption. But we all know its worse then Alcohol.

But it is still allowed. This just shows that we take religious teachings as per our convenience.

Sarah Dec 05, 2013 01:13pm

I am not going to provide the popular sentiment here: encouraging the consumption of alcohol does not improve a society in any way. The entire premise of your article is that if alcohol had not been banned, we would not have that many heroin addicts, and that crime was less vast in the days of legal drinking. I believe that's the infamous correlation-causation fallacy. The world is a very different place than the 1970s...

Parvez Dec 05, 2013 01:29pm

Many years ago a wise Scotish man told me ' Son never trust a man who does not drink '........I kept thinking about it and came to the conclusion that he was so right.

rich Dec 05, 2013 01:55pm

@Myatic: so ur children are so weak willed, or do not have a good upbringing

i am a goan, there are more pubs hers then any other bussiness, u can drink anywhere, no ristriction, and very cheap too, the same drink in other states in india cost atleast 21/2 times more u can even distill alcohol in ur house without any special permit, or open a bar with an ordinary permit

and still it is the richist state in india per capita, litterecy is 100% crime very low,

so u see good or bad is in a person not in some drink or drugs


rich Dec 05, 2013 02:00pm

@Myatic: oh i forgot to add

an yet acohol consumtion in kerala and punjab is the highest in india, and most expensive, in kerala many die bec of moonshine every year, and its a 100% literete state

in goa its comparitavely very low consumtion for locals, most consumtion is by tourist, though in every goan house u will find all kids of alcoholic drinks

Suraj Dec 05, 2013 02:18pm

I am not a teetotaler and come from a family from where drinking is acceptable. I have seen closely how diverse can be the effect of alcohol on humans. Some can have it and still can behave dignified and not be addicted to it, others get addicted but it doesn

Mahmood Ali Dec 05, 2013 02:20pm

A very good write up by NFP. After reading the interesting artical, only one question comes to my mind. Why should mankind ban or legalize the use of anything / habits / literature etc ??? The easiest way out is to legalize everything under the sun i.e no bars. Perhaps, only then, this world would become a beautiful, enchanting and livable place. The Americans are the wisest of all mankind. They have now started legalizing the GAY culture. But, surprisingly the terror killings are on the rise in that country and at a fast pace. Period

Pramod Dec 05, 2013 02:45pm

@IBN-E-ASHFAQUE: Few of my Muslim friends smoke very frequently some times 6-8 times in a day, But I don't but I do take a drink or two on week ends which they don't because they are not allowed to take . I am allowed for both but do not smoke because of health issue . So if you are strong enough then you do not need a ban on some thing.

Punjabi Dec 05, 2013 03:03pm

Correlation does not imply causation.

shaukat ali chughtai Dec 05, 2013 03:09pm

@Hussain Saqib: PNA was created as rightists and extreme righists to confront with leftists group, and the rightists were successful. Since they can exploit religion and so they wil be successful now because there is no organized leftists. The progressives and liberals all spread around.

iqbal carrim Dec 05, 2013 03:19pm

A flourishing tourism industry in Pakistan is about its distinctiveness,hospitality,landscape and mountaineering,food,music,culture,folk activities,and above all security.Least is alcohol which the western visitors have plenty at home and of unmatched standards.

Jehanzeb Dec 05, 2013 03:22pm

@Sarah: I completely agree with Sarah ... Opium/Heroin was introduced to Pakistan because of our religious zeal of the

Mo Dec 05, 2013 04:02pm

@Tony Clark: Tony, Please do not confuse the Islam with afghanistan or what some people who say they are muslims do. I am sorry if this sounds absurd to you that the image of islam will/should come from muslims, but this is truth that it is unfortunately wrong interpretation and at times politicizing the religon that leads to such sentiments. I, being a muslim and having more closer look at what islam allows as business and trade and consumption can say that it does not allow wither of these. hope this makes some sense.

Awais Shaikh Dec 05, 2013 04:05pm

Alcohol is bad, it damages liver, destroys health etc etc. But please tell me one thing, really please tell me one thing, thereis a person A who drinks daily, ruins his liver etc, sleeps with a new pros daily but is excellent in his dealings with other people. There is another person, person B, who's praying five times a day, gives zakat and does haj etc, but cheats with people and is extremely bad in dealing. In your point of view, A is better or B?

If B is better, then I swear we should really look at what is fundamentally wrong with our country because in my humble view, A is my new best friend because he is only damaging himself and not others.

If my thinking is right that A is a better person so really alcohol ban is just a political drama like others in this country. Focus should be on people supporting other people.

So people, please get the thinking right

Harjit Singh Dhanoa Dec 05, 2013 04:12pm

I spent six months in Lahore on an assignment some years back. The best whiskey labels I ever had in my life, was in homes of people I was invited to visit in Lahore. Scotch whiskey was available from bootleggers at a Rs10,000 a bottle! Way back in 1984 on a visit there, being a non Muslim, was allowed to buy liquor. For a bottle Rs300 I was offered Rs1500 which I refused since what I had purchased was for my hosts. BTW: best 6 months I have ever spent any where were in Lahore!

AHA Dec 05, 2013 04:21pm

@Syed Mahmood: I agree with your observations, but with a caveat. I think excess of anything is bad. In case of alcohol, the problems arise when one becomes an alcoholic.

Excessive medicines CAN kill you, and excessive religion most certainly DOES.

AHA Dec 05, 2013 04:30pm

@Sarah: Excellent observations, and I agree too.

Gerry D'Cunha Dec 05, 2013 04:51pm

I have seen in karachi, muslims consume more alcohol than the minority communities. in the 1960s as a teenager when the liquor bar was open, I saw majority of muslims drinking cheap liquor called 'lal khan' and safadh khan' in saddar, karachi - most of these shops were owned by parsis.

TBS Dec 05, 2013 04:55pm

A splendid article which has brought out into the open a topic considered a taboo in Pakistani society. I was in the army when alcohol and nightclubs were banned by ZAB . The problem with the majority of our society is that they go to extremes. The concept of drinking should not be to get drunk and become irresponsible and a public nuisance. A couple of drinks in the evening help to lower stress levels and calm nerves. After my heart attack and bypass surgery in UK, my cardiologist advised to to drink two shots of whiskey every evening to lower stress, thin the blood and calm the nerves. No matter what comments people may have written here, there is a definite link between banning alcohol and drug consumption. I myself am witness to the fact that a lot of army officers who were my colleagues turned to drugs after alcohol was banned. As a nation we achieved nothing by banning alcohol. Those that can afford it can buy imported alcohol at exorbitant prices. Since 1982 I have mostly lived in the West and on my visits to Pakistan, I have been to parties where alcohol flowed like water, while the police stood outside as guards. Those who cannot afford the price of imported alcohol turn to moonshine at great risk to their lives. Bootleggers are the ones who have profited most from the ban. The government, on the other hand, is losing out taxes and levies while the black market thrives and grows . Given the opportunity a large number of Pakistanis from all walks of life like to drink and be merry. One just has to visit the nightclubs of cities around the world to witness this phenomenon for ones self. In Dubai for example affluent Pakistanis can be found in the most expensive nightclubs of the city enjoying their evening with a drink, while those on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic bracket can be found drinking in 'mujra' houses or nightclubs. I wonder when we as a society will stop being hypocrites, using religion as a means of enforcing our beliefs on others and when we will learn to live and let live.

Kashaf Dec 05, 2013 04:56pm

@Awais Shaikh: Both A & B are bad.

Umair Aziz Dec 05, 2013 05:03pm

Freedom for All ! Don't Impose Bans. Its free world, let the consumer decide.

Jahan Singh Mastang Dec 05, 2013 05:31pm

The beauty of Murree beer is that it still retains the old English way of making ale. It is great with a briyani and lamb korma. Pakistanis do not know it but Murree beer is one of the best beers around. Three cheers to Nadeem Sahib.

Farhan Dec 05, 2013 05:54pm

Why we as a Pakistani think that the answer to every ill / evil is putting up some sort of prohibition? Why not let people decide what they want? Look at Turkey - people there have the option of living as a conservative OR go to one the night clubs and do whatever they want to do OR do both in balance. Free thinking leads to innovation which leads to progress which will benefit all and most importantly the poor. So the point is bigger than alcohal - we as a society have to get our this habit of putting people in boxes. Let everyone has the choice and freedom don't be big brother under the false slogan that such things benefits the societry. Don't pass judgments on people! Put a ban on drunk driving for sure because it hurts all.

Nadeem Dec 05, 2013 05:58pm

It has been banned by Allah and enforcement has been carried out in time of our Beloved Prophet (May peace of Allah be upon him).We must adhere to the ruling and enforce it.

hassan Dec 05, 2013 06:02pm

Murree Brewery does make excellent beer; the last time I visited Lahore, I had my share of their brands and certainly, fresh beer does taste great. I am a lover of Danish/German/Dutch brands but Murree does a splendid job. And yes, I love a glass of red/white wine with my wife at the end of the day after supper. Cheers, NFP.

What?! Dec 05, 2013 06:28pm

@iqbal carrim: flourishing tourism in Pakistan??? Really? I must be living in a parallel world

Shahid Khan Dec 05, 2013 06:33pm

@IBN-E-ASHFAQUE: I am all for guidance, but as you say let "Allah" guide us, not the state or government.

als Dec 05, 2013 06:59pm

NFP is brilliant.

SALAHUDDIN Dec 05, 2013 07:03pm

@Awais Shaikh: why you are installing conditions ? Cheating with person is also strictly prohibited in Islam like Alcohol.We all knows that Alcohol is dangerous for health then why we are waisting our time on this trash discussion? i m big admirer of NFP writings but here he gave a very lame excuse which states "due to the partial banned on liquor, the consumption heroin increases". Dont you guys really think we should curb the smuggling/production of both harmful goods. In the developed world selling an expired food is consider as crime but why YES to expired(rotten) malt/lemon/Grapes/Apple/Iphone whatever !

joy Dec 05, 2013 07:29pm

I remember reading about a discussion on prohibition in Indian parliament long time back. The then Morarji Desai Government was toying with the idea of banning alcohol sale in the country. But a witty and wise member, late Piloo Mody put paid to the plans by reminding the prime minister that India was a Republic and if he took the "pub" out of the "re(pub)lic, India would be reduced to a "relic". needless to say, the debate died there and then with everyone having a hearty laugh.

Karachi Wala Dec 05, 2013 07:34pm

After reading this blog from NFP and some previous ones, I get following two impressions. 1- Deterioration and crumbling of Pakistan is the result of Mullah

Pragmatic Dec 05, 2013 07:49pm

Muslims are nowadays the most suicidal group in this world. They do not realize that humans are basically hunters of the forbidden. As the governments put restrictions on the alcohol, it becomes more exciting to pursue it. Before I left Pakistan in 1984 it will provide me a great thrill to seek and consume alcohol. But since I came to United States thirty years ago I can my combined total of alcohol does not exceed one bottle of whisky and some twenty bottles of beer. All that was once in a blue moon affair in some official function. I have not yet bought any with my own monies. The moral is that once the forbidden is not forbidden, it looses its charm. I hope our leaders get some lesson from it.

omar javaid Dec 05, 2013 07:56pm

all the people using islam as a rationale for banning alcohol need to realize that speaking ill about someone behind their back, lying for no reason, and disobeying one's parents are bigger sins than alcohol. to before you say the alcoholic is going to hell please make sure you yourself also arent going to hell.

Fi Iman Allah.

Danish Dec 05, 2013 07:58pm

Allow 4 ounces a day please..

Bakhtawer Bilal Dec 05, 2013 08:22pm

@IBN-E-ASHFAQUE: One will agree to your sentiment and wishes. BUT, it you try to chain me and drag me to the right path, I will fight back.

Mohammed Dec 05, 2013 08:31pm

I think overturning the ban on alcohol in Pakistan would be a grave mistake. Once the ban is overturned it will only encourage alcohol consumption as it will lose a considerable amount of its stigma, an increased supply, media/advertising and peer pressures will only increase consumption.

I am a British Pakistani and work in social services for the government. A large proportion of the cases of domestic violence, abuse or neglect we receive are either caused or exasperated by alcohol abuse. Cases of alcohol abuse or

Akram Dec 05, 2013 08:42pm

I am all for rolling back much of the disastrous policies to come from mullah bandwagon starting with the ridiculous and unjust hudood ordinance, but I don't think legalising alcohol is going to do much for Pakistan, as a progressive I want education and development, not tipple. Living in the west myself, I can see the results of alcohol around me and I'm sorry to say they are not positive.

There maybe an argument to allow people to buy the local Muree products as opposed to dodgy moonshine, but I see little point in encouraging a culture of drinking, we need a culture of work like the Chinese, not more drink.

Wolf Dec 05, 2013 08:55pm


"Exacerbated," not "exasperated"

Wolf Dec 05, 2013 09:01pm

All banning accomplishes is to make it more expensive. Those intent on drinking will find ways to obtain alcohol. Prohibition in the USA was a resounding failure. I recall an article in Scientific American -- over thirty years ago -- which reported that even birds would deliberately seek and ingest fermented berries so that could get intoxicated, often to the extent that they would drop off the branches they were perched on. We are not the only species that goes in for alcohol consumption, and this suggests it's not quite the aberration and anomaly it's made out to be.

shamshad hussain Dec 05, 2013 09:04pm

it was the pressure of religious groups that govt banned on sale wine to muslims. I think it was ban on working class, not for elites. but now in Sindh, everyone can get it easily. however, this ban was fruitless. elite class has wine on theirs dinners, but poor are using tainted wine. which is lethal killer.

Sal Dec 05, 2013 09:15pm

@Awais Shaikh: In your example, person B is a cheat, and that is crime with due punishment under law. And person A is an alcoholic, again a crime with due punishment under law. The law does not let you hide your bad deeds behind the good ones. otherwise, kidnapping for ransom would be just fine if you share the spoils with the poor and the needy, right?

Felix Dec 05, 2013 09:29pm

@mimi sur: You read my mind :)

Faisal Dec 05, 2013 09:34pm

Two points of views. One alcohol and prositution are both older than any known religion to man. They will not go away. So doesn't matter if you try to stop them. You won't be able to. Second, Although this is an interesting topic to write about but there are more pressing issues in Pakistan than sale or uplifting of alcohol ban. A fun read overall.

Mercury Dec 05, 2013 09:44pm

@Mohammed: Why not ban Opium, Bhung and other illist drugs? Why is only alcohol being singled out?

Raheel Dec 05, 2013 10:25pm

strangely enough you missed Afghanistan!! or is not considered a Muslim country?

Shahpur Dec 05, 2013 10:36pm

Regardless of the history, the Beer had a very distinct taste. They must have a well preserved and well protected recipe, which has still the old taste.

2cents Dec 05, 2013 11:02pm

@Kahnum: Liquor prohibition has not worked in Indian state of Gujarat as well!! It's been banned for many years and it's one of the most smuggled item in the state. Many people cross over the border to Maharashtra to buy alcohol. If anything Government is loosing lot of tax money!! It's a personal choice and can be controlled with strong will power like any other addiction!!

Anoop Dec 05, 2013 11:27pm

Hot summer day, you have been travelling, your back is killing.

Nothing like a chilled Beer. Screw Murree, try Kingfisher!

aamir Dec 06, 2013 12:04am

some of the comments here are mind boggling. Its not hard to stay away from alcohol if you have a will. Yet people are posting comments here that suggest it is as essential as water. Pakistanis have a habit of over indulging in things. Going to extremes in everything be it religion or liberalism. We are not a society that can live without restrictions. Take it away and see what happens.

Alcohol related hospitalizations are the biggest cost factor in USA. Lets see how the public hospitals in Pakistan treat the ill effects of alcohol consumption. Lets see how the police in pakistan control drunk driving when alcohol is available to the masses.

We are a people that can't even lineup anywhere yet NFP suggests booze for everyone. Lets become civilized first then be privleged with a choice to drink.

Wolf Dec 06, 2013 12:48am

Do what Norway does: the Norwegian state imposes very heavy taxes on alcohol and controls sales through its monopoly, Vinmonopolet. Among other things, the revenues help pay for alcohol-induced illnesses.

As for drunk driving, how many bus and truck drivers in Pakistan are driving under the influence of charas? I would wager over 90%. Is this not dangerous?

Alcohol is here to stay. Blame biochemistry, blame the person who first discovered the impact fermentation has. The genie is out of the bottle. What can be done is to tax and regulate alcohol consumption. Blanket prohibition is not going to work.

I don't much care for drinking myself -- it has no appeal. But alcohol is going to be around just like prostitution. What should the policy response be?

Tamilslevan Dec 06, 2013 01:16am

A mullah asked his followers that if an ass sees two tubs one filled with water and one filled with beer where would it go and the followers said it would go to the water. He felt good and asked the followers why? Several in the group said because it's an ass!

Ali Dec 06, 2013 01:47am

I have seen Pakistani travel on Emirates Airlines as soon as they board ask air hostage for beer and other liquors.

quresh Dec 06, 2013 02:17am

@Tamilslevan: Hilarious.

Omar Dec 06, 2013 02:33am

True that research of yours, I had always wondered to talk on the subject but my research could never have detailed as well by u from the age of 10.... As I came into being only the same year uve been talking about 1977 so all is I've heard on stories..

I wish to raise a query that do we and don't we find peace humanism and or quality of life in countries even Muslim where u list are serving alcohol ?

The JI world of life is chronic and see their chronic ism has led us to a serious drug consuming country....

Can we debate to legislate for current rulers to think t over like many other amendments they have made legal or illegal for their benefit?

Boss I believe what our country men are currently living a life of barbarism is all frustration... Isn't it do u not agree?

No fun lands,. No security.. No movies (until recently) where the heck do u want this nation full of buggers to go?

SaleemC Dec 06, 2013 02:39am

I am pleased that such a subject has been raised in a public domain. In my view this should be legalized but in a strictly controlled way.

The benefits of doing this will be tremendous. Smuggling will be reduced, unhygienic illegal brewing with consequential deaths will also be reduced. Furthermore, the government will be able to raise revenues from the sales. There is scope for exports, especially Muree brewery the oldest in south Asia. All this activity will generate employment.

afroze fatemah Dec 06, 2013 03:03am

In saudi Arabia there is limited legal means to get alcholol i.e non-muslim countries emabbasies .S.Arabia has a large number of expatriates/embassy staff/western military personnel. Alcoholic beverages are available to them, but the unwritten rule is that the drinking takes place behind closed doors.

And prince of saudi royal families get their share in the name non-muslim ppl.

It is not completely ban.

SR Dec 06, 2013 03:17am

Alcohol is completely banned in Saudi Arabia...LOL...joke of the week!!!

SaleemC Dec 06, 2013 03:22am

@Anoop: I will not screw Murree, its not only the oldest brewery but first and foremost its the best in taste and texture. Other beers are made apeing mostly European recipes.

Strongest point for Murree is that the water used in brewing it is the pure himalayan water. Now you cannot beat this!

Dan A. Dec 06, 2013 03:23am

Pakistan should simply legalize liquor and tax it. It should also tax other (ever greater) harmful things such as trans fats, cigarettes, etc. I simply can't respect a man who doesn't appreciate a glass of good beer. Unless, he also appreciates good whiskey, then I trust and respect him. If the founder of a nation (Jinah) can drink it, I'm sure Pakistan won't suddenly burst into flames if average Pakistanis do so too. Leave your religion at home, and let people do as they please in their own homes.

khan78 Dec 06, 2013 05:36am

That sunni scholar was right under sunni is a liquid food rich in fiber.

Panjab Singh Panjabi Dec 06, 2013 06:39am

To all my great Panjabi brothers both side of the Panjab border. Murree is Panjab's state drink and we are all duty bound to quench our thirst. So to all my fellow Panjabis have a very murree Christmas.

Fahad Khan Dec 06, 2013 07:06am

I can easily purchase King Fisher in North America, but where I can find Murree Brewery lager here? I will really love to have couple of beers to have a taste of it.

Ernest Bowen(Australia) Dec 06, 2013 07:51am

@Nadeem: only ALCOHOL is banned in Islam ,others like ZINA LOOTMAR CHORI RESHWAT KILLING NON MUSLIM TARGET KILLING is all allowed in Islam KIA this is all HARAM not only Sahrab,open your mind open your eyes and look were the world is going this 21st century and not the stone age

Jijaji00 Dec 06, 2013 08:14am

Hi NFP.. Great blog as usual. I want to request you to write a blog about majority of pakistani population's liking for smoking please. Same people who denounce alcohol citing health complications always keep mum when you remind them of same being true for the smoking too. Reason? Because most of them are smokers themselves. So just because koran is mum(makhru) on smoking doesnt mean its ok to smoke. Please remind them of their double standards while entertaining all with your satire. Thanks.

ahmed41 Dec 06, 2013 08:16am

Cheers !!!!

Way back in the 1970s the best beer in Theran used to be MUREE BEER from Pakistan.

ahmed41 Dec 06, 2013 09:21am

@joy: Lets not FORGET the other unmentionable jibes about Morarji's own "DRINKING HABITS" >>>

called * Auto-BEER Therapy*

Bilal Dec 06, 2013 09:56am

@Wolf: I say, don't even tax. Let the market forces decide for demand/supply in the market. Higher taxes and consumption restriction will lead to higher alcohol prices in the black market. Yes, the government should intervene by raising more awareness of the negative consequences of alcohol consumption, but completely banning it not a way of reducing alcohol consumption. In fact, many people in Pakistan are using drugs as a substitute, which is more harmful, especially poor people who cannot afford higher black market premiums. Let people decide for themselves what is good for them and what is not. The government bans it, but many government personnel themselves love to have a drink or two...doesn't hurt right?

smroofi Dec 06, 2013 10:32am

its a fulgent article, arises a fair touch of reality in pakistan. we, as pakistanis, have religion and its prohibitions but unfortunately have no restrictions in our mental faculties.... i think, almost 65 percent Pakistanis are having these drinks but important thing is that to know why they are doing so. just for pleasure or something.....!

ssf Dec 06, 2013 10:39am

@aamir: You missed the point the writer was making that consumption of alcohol has remained the same or increased while at the same time also usage of drugs, because for some who can't afford to buy liquor turn to drugs. And those who are drinking and can't afford, turn to local bootlegger with bad results.

Umair Dec 06, 2013 10:40am

If Pakistan were a true muslim country, I would have argued about the ban on alcoholic products. Like you said, the ban is more political than moral

Umair Dec 06, 2013 10:47am

@SR: There are ways to get alcohol in KSA but by law if you are found with it, you are sentenced to death without trial. Saudis themselves are heavy drinkers

rich Dec 06, 2013 12:50pm

@afroze fatemah: u find all middle saudis in baharain on weekends, the rich sheiks drink at home even during ramadan, i have personally witnessed it

rich Dec 06, 2013 12:54pm

@aamir: and how do u get civilised first? by killing non muslim and minority muslim sects? by promoting bachache bazzi ban killing in the name if religion then u will have a civilised society, drinking has noothing to do with it

rich Dec 06, 2013 01:07pm

@Parvez: its a favorite goan saying, and so true, when u drink u speak ur mind, nothing cunning is left in ur heart or so we say

indian Dec 06, 2013 01:12pm

@Panjab Singh Panjabi: thats a true punjabi spirit.

RA Dec 06, 2013 01:49pm

Personally I don't drink and wont drink even if it was legal. But being tolerant means I wont have an issue with anyone else who wants to drink (muslim or non-muslim). I think what the author tried to imply is that banning alcohol in Pakistan has done more harm then good. A good enough muslim will abstain from alcohol even if it is legally available as do many muslims and pakistanis living abroad do in countries where alcohol is not banned.

safi Dec 06, 2013 10:13pm

nothing like havin a couple of scotches after a hard day at work with friends. India is littered with pubs, bars and night clubs where the young and old can go and enjoy a night out and connect with friends and even then the violence and crime is not even in the same league as pak where there is virtually o night life...enough said.

Kashaf Dec 07, 2013 01:40am

According to the American Medical Association, the drug that is the most dangerous and physically damaging of all psychoactive drugs is alcohol. When Islam prevents it's followers from an act, it is in their own benefit. The wisdom of the whole world combined has no match to the wisdom of Allah Subhana wa tala Al - Aleem ( the all knowing ) , Al-Hakeem ( the all wise ).

Ghani Chandio Dec 07, 2013 03:44am

@Fahad Khan:

That is what i love about America. I had Sangha, Kingfisher and Corona in one sitting.

What a country

Ghalib Dec 07, 2013 04:05am

This was nice and informative - I also like writers like Ayaz Amir, who are much more colorful in their discussion of the topic, and thinly veil references to alcohol to tease and taunt the Mullahs.

On heroin addiction - I wonder if one of the primary drivers of heroin addiction starting in the 80s in Pakistan was the collapse of the Afghan State, and the birth of a narco-system there. I think this topic is far too important to be wrong about anything, and would question the extent to which the rise of drug addiction in Pakistan is tied to the availability of alcohol as an alternative.

And who is to say whether alcohol is the right addiction? It's pretty destructive at the end of the day, especially when consumed in excess - almost certainly not as bad as heroin, but still pretty bad.

Naureen F Patakha Dec 07, 2013 08:40am

In a country where authorities cannot regulate kite flying, how do you expect them to control drunk driving?

pakone Dec 07, 2013 12:03pm

@Jijaji00: Excellent point. Cigarette smoking kills more people globally than alcohol consumption by far. A nasha is a nasha whether inhaled or imbibed! I was recently stopped at a police checkpoint in Islamabad and I had a sealed bottle of vodka in my car that I was taking home for a dinner party that evening. The police found it and said "what is this?" I just said "what does it look like? a sealed bottle of vodka." He goes you know this is not allowed. I said why? I am not drinking and driving, you can check my blood alcohol level - I haven't had a sip. Then he goes yes but this is haraam. Then I looked at his colleague puffing away on a marlboro red - I said "whats that in his hand?" He goes a cig. I said how is that not haraam? Its harmful to the body, in many ways much more so than liquour. Then I added, when he doesn't smoke for a few hours and then lights one up, does he not get a little dizzy initially? Nasha hota hay na? He said yes. So I said then there is no difference in that and this bottle of vodka. Please give me my papers back and move out of the way. He did, sheepishly! LOL. It's total hypocrisy.

Hamza Dec 07, 2013 04:49pm

I dont know why anyone in a muslim country would want alcohol to be legalized. There are so many negatives, even western countries have trouble to regulate the amount that can be consumed. Most of the road accidents in North america are cauzed by driving under influence. So how on earth country like Pakistan monitor this. I hope it stays banned.

DA Dec 08, 2013 04:13am

The only state in India where alcohol is completely banned is - surprise - Gujarat! Yeah, Narendra Modi's state.

rana1 Dec 08, 2013 06:52am

@Fahad Khan: your kind will find what you are looking for, just keep on looking

NASAH (USA) Dec 08, 2013 09:30am

Did you know that human body itself makes alcohol (ETOH) while breaking down sugar for energy when we eat a carbohydrate rich meal (rice, roti, potato etc) -- partly that's why after a good meal we feel sleepy.

Ghulam Rasool Soomro Dec 08, 2013 09:42am

good article

Ash Dec 08, 2013 09:42am

@Kashaf: Please don

Ash Dec 08, 2013 09:49am

Freedom is the highest form of discipline. Be disciplined, Give freedom.

Ash Dec 08, 2013 10:01am

@Danish: Lol! With this humbleness, you can have 8.

Mystic Dec 08, 2013 02:30pm

Amazing logic on display here. Since charas and tobacco are more harmful and used in the country, why not alcohol? You guys wanna add to our miseries?

ali imran Dec 08, 2013 08:25pm

@Hamza: Because there are not just muslims living in this country. There are also christians for whom alcohol is not haram. And in answer to the next obvious qs as in why dont they all jst leave im sure the british could say the same for muslims living in uk.

tariq Dec 08, 2013 10:55pm

There is no haram attached to alcohol in the holy Quran anywhere. All it says in several places is the following. 1)While there is good in it there is also bad. 2)Drunk is defined as the Satan's work (not drink two separate things) 3)Don't pray while you are intoxicated. But do so when you become sober! 4)Intoxicants and Games of Chance are Satan's doings. Wont you stay away from it?

the point is that it is not called haram like pork and Carin! So why don't people research that and be able to stand up to the Illiterate mullahs?