ISLAMABAD -  Liquor vendors of Karachi and interior Sindh on Friday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Sindh High Court (SHC) ruling for closing down liquor shops in the province for a month.

Challenging the SHC verdict on behalf of 10 appellants, senior advocate Asma Jahangir made the Sindh government through home secretary, Director General Excise and Taxation Sindh, ETO Excise and Taxation Karachi, IGP Sindh, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) through its chairman and 106 liquor shop vendors as respondents.

The petitioners urged the apex court to set aside the SHC verdict by allowing them to resume their businesses in accordance with the law.

On March 2, the SHC gave ruling in response to a plea filed against the liquor sale in the province in the name of minorities. The SHC said in its order that Sindh Prohibition Rules 1979 for granting a permit on prescribed form to non-Muslims to purchase wine/liquor as per the designated quota are clearly and openly violated in the length and breadth of the province.

The verdict said that selling wine and liquor at 120 shops of the province without a single permit was in complete violation of the legal framework established for the sale of wine and liquor through the licensed wine shops aiming to ensure that these shops only sell wine/liquor to non-Muslims, in limited quota and only as a part of their religious ceremonies.

The SHC ruled, “therefore until and unless a mechanism as undertaken by the Advocate General Sindh is put in place, the wine shops spread all over the province are clearly engaged in illegal sale of wine and liquor without ensuring that it is sold to non-Muslims alone and that too in the prescribed quota, thus doing business not only in complete violation of the said prohibition rules, as well as, they are operating contrary to the injunctions of the Hadd Order 1979”.

The SHC had issued directives to the Director General Excise to seal all the wine shops throughout the province with immediate effect and granted a day to the provincial Inspector General of Police to ensure a compliance report.

The court also granted 30 days to the provincial government to evolve a mechanism in consultation with the stakeholders (being petitioners as well as the wine shop owners) to ensure that a practical, transparent and implementable mechanism is put forward which ensures that the licensed wine shops only sell wine and liquor to non-Muslims, and non-Muslim foreigners in quantities restricted by the permissible quota.

The court also asked the provincial government to ensure availability of a proper record of the non-Muslims who purchase liquor as part of their religious ceremonies.

The SHC had also directed the Advocate General Sindh to submit a copy of the draft mechanism to the court before it was put up for implementation.