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Hookah Paani bund hogaya The Sindh Assembly's resolution calling for a ban on "Shisha" has not gone down well with owners of restaurants where it is smoked and has also been rejected by smokers themselves, who believe they have been picked on for no justified reason. On Tuesday, the provincial assembly unanimously passed the resolution demanding that shisha smoking be banned on the grounds that it was more injurious to health that cigarettes. But not all agree with this line of argument. Clearly the resolution moved by PPP lawmaker Syed Muhammad Bachal Shah has been met with much skepticism and the proposed ban dismissed by many as unimportant. "I would like to give the bright fools who suggested this brilliant idea a pat on their backs for doing what Zia-ul-Haq did to booze, prostitution, and gambling. From gambling in casinos, we now have makeshift dens all over the city. From brothels, we now have respectable apartment complexes with a bad fish or two each to malign the reputation of whichever other soul lives in or around it. Alcohol is out of bars and pubs, but has found a new home in residences, flowing ever so flawlessly. It kind of reminds me of what the Indus used to be," an angry youth stated on the condition of anonymity, when asked for his comments on calls for banning shisha at public places. A housewife and Shisha lover, Jennifer says "The Shisha ban is rather crazy. There are several other issues that are in need of attention and consequent action. The negative effects of Shisha are insignificant compared to the several other things we have in our society." "You ban Shisha, your youth will inevitably move on to 'cooler' things like heroin, marijuana and pills etc," she added. "The country is going through such a rough phase, but when the sea has to get rough on people you know what they say ' inka Huqqa Paani sub bund karado'," Anis Dhanani, the owner of a Shisha joint said. 'That's exactly what we have done to the nation. Setting aside all the evils that are existent in our society, we choose to put more focus on banning Shisha," he added. 'Now that the common man does not even have enough money to travel by public transport, let aside taking a vacation internationally or even within the country, our very esteemed government has decided to take forward the ban. "I would not say it is a completely harmless hobby, but it wasn't a totally harmful hobby either. It brought a lot of life to society. It is clear fun, where four or five friends sitting in an open environment, eating some snacks can relax themselves." The resolution moved by Shah was supported by Shazia Marri, Agha Siraj Durani, Pir Mazhar, Dr Muhammad Ali Shah, Shama Mithani, Marvi Rashdi and Syed Faisal Sabzwari. Referring to those in support of the ban, Dhanani said, "There are a number of people defending the ban in the parliament. However sadly, the people trying to bring this in are themselves involved in such activities. The only difference is that the youth can't afford to go to an enclosed place in Clifton which sells cigars and spend Rs2,500 if not more on their entertainment." Looking at the entire issue from an economic aspect, the restaurant owner said: "There are over 140 cafÈs in Pakistan serving Shisha and employing 15,000 people. As it is, the country is going through an economic crunch. We will be laying-off 15,000 more people once the bill is passed and some of the restaurants that serve only Shisha will have to be shut down completely." He also said that that the health aspect of smoking Shisha had been blown out of proportion. Even though pulmonologists and chest physicians welcomed the resolution, Dhanani dismissed reports stating that smoking Shisha was as bad as smoking 100 cigarettes. He said one Shisha is equal to two cigarettes because it takes some forty five miuntes to have, unlike cigarettes, and is shared by four to five people. "In this country people commit suicide due to social tensions or they die by consuming Gutka, Chaalia, Paan or even the diesel fumes on the road. However the government does not want to ban those evils," Saina, a beautician said. "Hookah has been a part of our society forever. Every village and home in the Punjab has it. Even many places in Sindh have it. It's a national thing. "How will the government take the Shisha and the hookah out of all the homes now?" she asked and added, "Like other bans this too will fail." An avid cigarette smoker who recently started smoking Shisha, Terrance said, "Perhaps, it is cigarette manufacturers who are feeling the pinch, because more and more people are moving from towards Shisha." He said, "Buying cigarettes is still a taboo. Children don't smoke cigarettes in front of their parents. However, smoking Shisha is a family thing." While many people do support a ban on Shisha, questions still arise as to how it will be implemented in letter and spirit. "Well, is the cigarette banned too? Does it stop people from smoking despite its health risks," said Uzma, a preschool teacher. "Why such a drastic step for Shisha?' she asked. "Even our MPAs smoke, their families and children enjoy Shisha too. What hypocrisy!" The positive impacts of the proposed ban have been welcomed and yet fears exist about the negative impacts that the ban will have. "People won't stop using Shisha after this, but instead a hide-and-seek game will start. That will be all the more harmful," Damascus owner Dhanani said. "Perhaps our very learned leaders and members of parliament have something else to offer to the youth. Something 'more healthier', perhaps a bit of honey!" he added.