According to an amended bill in Pakistan, anyone who is found eating and smoking openly in public places during the holy month of Ramzan would be imprisoned for three months and pay a fine of Rs 500.
The changes have been introduced after a Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs unanimously approved the Ehtram-e-Ramzan (Amendment) Bill, 2017. Apart from the fines for individuals, the penalty for hotel owners violating the law has been increased from Rs 500 to Rs 25,000, reports The Express Tribune.
The Bill has come under fire from Bakhtawar Bhutto, daughter of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who called it a ‘ridiculous law.’
The oldest daughter of Benazir said that the "law" was outrageous as it failed to consider that not everyone will be fasting in the month of Ramzan.
Under the Ehtram-e-Ramazan Ordinance 1981, it is illegal for Muslims to eat or drink in public during daylight hours in Ramazan, though the heatstroke crisis prompted some clerics to advise people they should stop fasting if their health is at risk.
After receiving mixed reviews from users on the social media, Bakhtawar elaborated on her initial tweet, saying “We are more than capable of resisting temptation and keeping our fasts.”
Additionally, media organisations or cinemas found to be violating the law during the month of Ramzan will be required to pay a minimum fine of Rs 5,00,000.
The amended bill was introduced in January 2016 by Senator Tanveer Khan and later, was forwarded to standing Committee on Religious Affairs.