By Shakeel Ahmed
ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Interior Muhammad Talal Chaudhary informed the Senate that tobacco / Sheesha (Huqqa) had been prohibited in the Federal Capital and action was being taken against the violators.
Replying to a question, the minister denied that the use of tobacco was increasing in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
The ICT administration, he said, had constituted six teams under the assistant commissioners concerned in its all sub-divisions for effective enforcement of Sheesha (Huqqa) ban and monitoring of all tobacco control laws.
He said the enforcement teams conducted raids against Sheesha (Huqqa) bars / violators of tobacco control laws and imposed fines as part of efforts to control indoor and underage smoking. In years 2015-17, the teams collectively imposed fine of Rs 3.114 million on the violators, he added.
He said many Sheesha (Huqqa) bars had closed down after successful enforcement of the ban by the ICT administration.
The minister said during the current year, 39 bar owners, 15 servants and 28 tobacco / Sheesha smokers were found involved and action was taken against them under the relevant law.
He said the ICT administration was to make Islamabad a Tobacco – Smoke Free City in collaboration with the Capital Administration and Development Division (CA&DD) by creating unawareness and enforcement of tobacco control laws, including Sheesha (Huqqa) bars.
He said to plan, implement and monitor the initiative of “Tobacco-Smoke Free City”, a District Implementation & Monitoring Committee (DI&MC) on Tobacco Control under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner, Islamabad was notified. Meetings of the said committee were being held every month since its notification.
He said Sheesha (Huqqa) bars were totally banned in the ICT. However, implementation against the menace was a continuous process for which the ICT administration was committed. he added.
He said the ICT administration prohibited the tobacco business near educational institutions under Tobacco Control Ordinance. At the moment more than 80 per cent shops near educational institutions did not sell tobacco products, he said.
The minister said the ICT administration in collaboration with the CA&DD declared and inaugurated 164 public places as tobacco smoke free facilities, including all hotels and restaurants, schools / colleges / universities and high-rise buildings (i.e. Centaurus, Islamabad Stock Exchange, Saudi Pak Tower, UBL Tower along all branches of North Zone, ZTBL with 488 branches, MOU signed with HEC etc).
Similarly, 10 public parks of Islamabad were declared as tobacco smoke free, he added.
Talal said all the SDPOs/SHOs also had been strictly directed to launch awareness programs among the youth within their areas to invite their attention towards the harmful effects of tobacco/Sheesha smoking and to ensure that no person sells smoking substance to any minor, who is below the age of 18 years.
To another question, the minister said a plan had been devised under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to meet water requirement of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad till 2050. PC 1 of the project had also been made, he added.
To a question, Talal Chuahdary said crime rate had witnessed considerable decrease after operationalizing of the Safe City Project. The Safe City project was signed in past but it was materialized by the incumbent government, he said.
The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily