IN Lahore, sheesha cafés had turned into criminal dens necessitating stringent measures to curb the menace on an urgent basis. The city district government administration has initiated some appreciable moves in this regard but vested-interest groups have been in the habit of initiating legal proceedings over irrelevant issues to divert attention…. The owners of sheesha cafes argued before the courts that their establishments are not included under the purview of public places. Resultantly, District Coordination Officer Noorul Ameen Mengal notified public places in the city: all sheesha cafés, restaurants, eateries, public festival areas, Sunday bazaars, cattle markets, public parks, recreational spots, markets, bus stands and their waiting rooms, commercial buildings and plots, and the roofs of commercial buildings fall under the purview of public places.
Medical experts are of the considered opinion that smoking sheesha is often more fatal than (tobacco) smoking. A vigorous campaign against smoking has already been launched and had the rulers enforced the pertinent laws in letter and spirit, the evil of sheesha-smoking would have been nipped in the bud. Now is the time to eradicate the menace of sheesha-smoking. It is the prime and collective responsibility of Lahoris and civil society to strengthen the hands of the district government for this noble cause.
Every now and then, NGOs take to the streets to highlight different issues.… Many a time protest camps are set up for days for the cause of a single person…. The NGOs should realise the gravity of the situation: sheesha cafés are bent on destroying our present and future generations.… This fatal ‘hobby’ has been eating up our younger generation like termite hollows wood. No one is above the law and by enforcing the rules in letter and spirit, results can be achieved. … It is our collective responsibility as a society to join hands with the district administration in its campaign against sheesha-smoking. — (Nov 7)
Selected and translated by Zaheer Mahmood Siddiqui.