KARACHI  -  The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday rejected a request to allow carrying and consuming hashish – commonly known as charas in Pakistan – as the petitioner argued that only noble and decent people consumed the contraband.

However, the Sindh High Court declared the petition, filed by a citizen Ghulam Asghar, not maintainable in this unique episode.

Meanwhile, Justice Muhammad Mazhar Ali expressed his anger and admonished the petitioner, observing that what kind of plea he had come up with. “Do you want that all the people in the country start using charas,” the judge remarked, asking Ghulam Asghar what charge should be levelled against him. However, the petitioner, who had made the federation, law ministry and others parties in the matter, said that he was a poor person and had moved the court in a matter of public interest. “Decent people consume charas, the police harass them.” He said that using charas was not a criminal act in most countries. But the court asked him to settle in those nations as it wasn’t allowed in Pakistan. 

Meanwhile, Ghulam Asghar presented another argument that decriminalising the use of charas would increase income and revenue in Pakistan, which was also rejected by the court. 

It is worth noting that carrying a certain quantity and consuming contrabands like hashish or cannabis (marijuana) or weed is not a punishable offence in several countries. Uruguay, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain and Australia are some of the nations which have decriminalised possession of cannabis. 

On the other hand, the use of marijuana is a hot topic in the developed world with many pressing for legalising it. New Zealand is the latest example where a non-binding referendum narrowly failed to garner the required support. The yes vote for legalising cannabis finished with 48.4 percent of the votes against the 50.7 percent for no. Hence, the no won with just 67,662 votes out of a total of 2.9 million. 

The voters were asked to decide whether they wanted to pass a bill that would have legalised the contraband and regulate how it was used and sold. This would have included producing and selling fresh and dried cannabis, including plants and seeds – for people over 20 years old. The change would also have imposed more stringent restrictions than the rules around sales of alcohol and tobacco.