The younger crowd defends them, the adults frown upon them and the Defence Housing Authority seals them – Sheesha Cafes in the Defence Housing Authority were yet again under the authority’s radar recently, with two being shut down in Khayaban-e-Rahat, Phase VI.
“If people do not want to be bothered, then they should keep away from venues which serve shisha. We’ve already warned them,” said the DHA spokesperson Colonel Rafat Naqvi while talking to The Express Tribune.
Several teenagers caught smoking shisha in the cafes were also apprehended but were let go after a warning. According to him, two cafes – Luminous and D Lounge – were sealed after several raids in Defence Phase VI, Khayaban-e- Rahat and 30 flavours of tobacco were found.
“We keep receiving complaints from parents over the presence of illegal shisha lounges as they are worried about their young kids getting addicted to the flavours [of shisha],” he said. “We also issued public notices but no one took it seriously.”
The DHA conducted the raids under the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance 2002.
Fad or bad
Although two venues serving shisha were closed, there are plenty more reportedly operating in the area as it is also available in restaurants. Colonel Naqvi, however, was confident that DHA will finish all such lounges and cafes.
Salman Ahmed, a regular visitor of D Lounge, however, felt that smoking shisha is not as dangerous as stated by people, justifying that “many families visit the café daily.” “We basically come [to the cafes] to pass time and have fun. We usually smoke shisha for an hour or two to unwind after work,” he said, calling the crackdowns on shisha cafes “an attack on individual freedom”.
But most of the residents of the area were in disagreement with Ahmed. “Young men and women are destroying their life through this open sale of shisha – they’re getting addicted to it,” said a resident on the condition of anonymity. “It’s not lemon or apple flavour, it’s poison. We will not let future generations to follow this path of destruction.” He pointed out that the biggest problem was that the operation against shisha was only being carried out within DHA’s jurisdiction. “Whoever wants to smoke [shisha] can go outside DHA and find it easily. This means that the campaign will not be successful as youngster will find other locations.”
Jawwad Tariq, owner of a shisha bar in Buffer zone, felt that the government should not only ban shisha but also wipe out all cigarettes which are more injurious to health. In May 2010, the Sindh Assembly unanimously passed a resolution against smoking shisha in restaurants and public places.
[via Express Tribune]