KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday ordered the provincial government to close down liquor shops in the province for one month.

A division bench, headed by Chief Justice of SHC Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, was hearing a petition filed against the sale of liquor in the province in the name of minorities. The court issued directives to the authorities concerned to devise a mechanism for the sale of liquor and also to submit a report during one month period. Earlier, lawmaker of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani told the court that liquor was sold in the name of minorities, but Hinduism also forbade the consumption of liquor. Hearing that, the court ordered closing down of liquor shops and adjourned the hearing.

In October, 2016, the SHC had directed the head of the Excise and Taxation Department to begin the process of revoking licences granted to wine shops throughout the province, observing they had been granted illegally.

Hearing a petition filed against wine shops open in the posh neighbourhoods of Karachi, SHC Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah had observed that there was no provision under Section 17 of the Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order, 1979 which allowed granting of general licences to liquor shops to sell alcoholic beverages throughout the year. The SHC’s order about cancellation of licences of about 124 wine shops owners had been challenged in November, 2016, and the Supreme Court had issued notices to the Sindh government and provincial departments concerned.