The Pakistan Supreme Court on Wednesday returned to the Sindh High Court (SHC) its October 27 order about cancellation of wine shop licences in the province, and directed it to hear the review petition on a day-to-day basis.
A three-member apex court bench presided over by Justice Saqib Nisar, which heard the petition filed by 124 wine shop owners against the Sindh High Court order.
Accepting the appeal against the cancellation of licences and returning the case to the Sindh HC, the apex court ordered hearings on the case to take place on a daily basis, starting next week.
“This order should not be taken to mean that the Supreme Court has granted permission for the sale of alcohol,” Justice Nisar said during the hearing.
Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, the patron of Pakistan Hindu Council and ruling party lawmaker, who was present during the hearing said it was not right to “sell alcohol in the name of religion”.
“In Hinduism, selling and drinking alcohol is prohibited,” he said.
The petitioners pleaded before the SC that they were law-abiding citizens of the country and had paid Pakistani Rs 3 billion in duties to the government last year.
They said that on October 18, the Sindh HC ordered the provincial government and its departments concerned to initiate the process of cancelling the licences of the liquor shops.
The petitioners argued that alcohol factories and stores were operating in various parts of Pakistan, including in Islamabad, Balochistan and Punjab, and that livelihood of at least 24,000 people was at stake as they were working in the alcohol retail business in Sindh.