KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday directed the inspector general of police (IGP) to depute a DIG as a focal person in a petition filed regarding manufacturing and sale of gutka and mainpuri.

A single-judge bench headed by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar said that the DIG/focal person must file a consolidated report regarding police action against gutka and mainpuri manufacturers and sellers covering all the districts of Sindh on Oct 11.

On Monday, in compliance with an earlier order of SHC several police officers filed separate reports of their respective districts containing details of the cases, charge sheets, quantity of recovered gutka, mainpuri.

Earlier, the bench had directed the police to launch a crackdown to curb the menace of gutka and mainpuri in the province and also called a report regarding the action.

Police file report in court regarding their actions to curb the sale of harmful substances

On the directive of the SHC, the provincial government had enacted a law titled The Sindh Prohibition, Manufacturing, Storage, Sale and Use of Gutka and Manpuri Act, 2019 and thereafter, use, sale and manufacturing of gutka and mainpuri were cognizable offences.

While issuing directive to the Sindh government, the court had ruled that the existing laws with regard to the punishment for manufacturing and selling gutka and mainpuri should be enhanced as culprits involved in such crimes were being booked under the British-era laws and set free after imposing minor penalties.

The bench had said that gutka addiction has become nuisance in Karachi, Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas division as well as other parts of the province and country and police said that this drug came through smuggling by different routes and thus federal law enforcement agencies might be involved in this matter.

The provincial government enacted a law on the subject and thereafter, use, sale and manufacturing of gutka and mainpuri were cognizable offences, it added.

The bench in its order further said that police needed to ensure drastic action against sale and use of such items. However, the bench had also ordered for constitution of a joint task force by the federal and provincial authorities to ensure that such items must not be smuggled from one province to another and between cities.

The SHC had also directed the IGP to ensure that all the police stations would take strict action to control the menace of gutka and mainpuri in their jurisdictions.

The petitioner sought action against the manufacturing and sale of the harmful substances and submitted that the police were doing nothing against them.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2021

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