Court orders still being flouted at Lowari tunnel

Published on: 01/10/2019 | Comments: No comments 

CHITRAL: The Consumer Court on complaints made by the public had ordered the NHA to ensure the Lowari tunnel be opened for two way traffic round the clock. The decision was made on 6 Aug 2019. The honorable court had also specified duties of personnel at the tunnel. According to the decision, management of the tunnel was to be carried out by the NHA and security personnel if any at the tunnel were only to act in emergency and were stopped from interfering in the flow of traffic at the tunnel.

The Court order was initially implemented but as timed passed the same old sordid system of policemen stopping travelers at the tunnel has begun again. It appears the police personnel have not be able to digest the end of their ‘thanedari’ at the tunnel which continued for years at the cost of poor travelers (thanks to our political leadership).

On 01 October 2019, a person traveling from Chitral to Peshawar in his car reported that on reaching the tunnel at 0830 the Chitral police person on duty was courteous and allowed the vehicle to pass through the tunnel unhindered. The tunnel was completely empty.
However after getting out of the tunnel on the Dir side there were several vehicles standing in a row. When the reporter asked them why were they waiting, they said we have been held up by the Dir police personnel on duty for the last 40 minutes and we are told that work is going on inside the tunnel will open at 0930 hrs, meaning they were forced to wait outside the tunnel for one and half hours on false pretext of work in progress inside the tunnel.

The DIG police is requested to investigate who were the policemen on duty at 0840 hours on 01 October 2019 on Dir side of the tunnel and punish them on the following account.

  1. Flouting the court order to not hinder the smooth flow vehicular traffic at the tunnel without valid reason.
  2. For telling lies that work was going inside the tunnel whereas nothing like such was happening.
  3. For creating public nuisance by hampering public travel (this is a serious crime in law books)
  4. For creating antagonistic feelings in the public against the police.

It is hoped that needful will be done to set things in order and retrieve the negative image of police in this context. It is also hoped that strict measures would be taken to respect court orders in future? .. CN report, 01 Oct 2019

Citizen files petition for legalising sale of bhang

Published on: 22/09/2019 | Comments: No comments 

Representational Image (PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS)

Representational Image (PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS)

HYDERABAD:?The Sindh High Court (SHC) has taken up a petition pleading for legalising the sale of bhang, an intoxicating herbal concoction made from cannabis. The bench, comprising Justice Muhammad Iqbal Mahar and justice Irshad Ali Shah, has put the Sindh government and the secretaries of health and excise departments on notice for October 16.

The petitioner, Amanullah Soomro, pleaded that he had started drinking bhang in 1970. ?I used to buy bhang from shops, but for many years, it is no longer available at shops due to the government?s undeclared ban.?

He deplored that although the police have banned the sale of the intoxicant, liquor is easily available in the market. Soomro maintained that while bhang is being consumed in all provinces of Pakistan, its commercial sale has come to a halt.

He claimed that bhang was sold at the shops in the urban and rural towns, as well as villages, of Sindh till 1977 and the excise department had issued licenses for its trade. ?With the start of the covert Afghan war during the martial law regime of Ziaul Haq, the drug peddling of heroine and other narcotic items gradually replaced trade of bhang while an unannounced ban was also slapped on it,? he said.

Soomro contended that bhang is also a cheaper and a natural intoxicant in comparison to liquor. ?A small sachet of bhang is sufficient for making one glass [of the intoxicant], which can be sold for as little as Rs10.?

According to him, one of the reasons that liquor and other narcotic items replaced bhang in the market was that all these intoxicants were being sold at high prices in comparison to bhang.

The petitioner told the court that bhang can be cultivated in large quantities in the country. ?The air in Islamabad often carries the scent of bhang,? he said, referring to the bhang weed which grows in almost all parts of the capital.

Soomro prayed the court to order the Sindh government to issue licenses for bhang shops, similar to those issued to wine shops, pointing out that it would result in the government earning excise tax help reduce the consumption of narcotics.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2019.