KARACHI            -        Veerji Kolhi, Special Assistant to the Sindh Chief Minister for Human Rights, has said that the government will come up with laws against shisha smoking (the hookah or water pipe).

Speaking at a session on ‘What law says about smoking’, organised by SPARC here at a local hotel on Friday, he said, “The Sindh government has already imposed a ban on the sale and purchase of gutka, mainpuri, mawa and other injurious items, and in this connection the role of the Society for the Protection of the Rights of Children (SPARC) is worth appreciating and exemplary.”

“During the last 72 years, we have seen that whenever the constitution has been suspended, people have been deprived of their legitimate rights, but now we have to put an end to it and must provide liberties to the people. The Sindh government is finalising a comprehensive policy in this regard to provide maximum relief to the people and to end their disappointments,” he added. Representatives of the Civil Society, Additional Secretary Law Tahira Pacheho, Kashif Bajeer, Capitan of Pakistan Football Team Saddam Hussain, social activists Kiran Zubair, Haris Jadoon, famous journalists Muneer Aqeel Ansari, Zia Qureshi, Abdul Samad Taji and others also spoke at the event.

At the start of the session, Muhamamd Kashif Mirza, Media Manager of SPARC, said that the contribution SPARC had been making to campaign against smoking for last many decades was on record. He said while on one hand society had been campaigning for a smoking-free Karachi and a special awareness movement had already been launched at the juvenile prison, but still over 1,200 youngsters start smoking daily and the total number of smokers today are more than 22 million. Kashif further said that although there were ample laws on the subject, but because of non-enforcement, the results were worst. “But we will have to change our behaviour to control bad habits,” he said.

Additional Law Secretary Tahira Pacheho said Sindh was the only exception since it was the only province where strict action had been taken against shisha smokers, and now a policy on child abuse would be unveiled very soon. Commenting on SPARC, the Captain of Pakistan Football Team, Saddam Hussain, suggested that we can get ideal success through sports activities and we should have to arrange sports events at our schools, colleges and universities for this purpose while through summer camps we can change the attitude and mindset of our children.