After D Lounge and Luminous, the Defence Housing Authority’s vigilance team made a raid on Latte Lounge on Monday, confiscating their “equipment”. The team, along with the police, raided the place after they reportedly received information that Latte Lounge was the only café among the ones at Sehar Commercial Area in Phase VI which was still serving sheesha.
While DHA officials believe that such venues offer the youth opportunities to indulge in “wrong” activities, the owner of Latte Lounge, Adiya, vehemently denied any such activities taking place at her café.
When contacted, Adiya rejected the allegations by DHA, saying that the café was a family restaurant and sheesha was just one of the promotional items on the menu. After DHA’s order banning sheesha at restaurants, however, the café stopped serving it, she said.
“Our café was bombarded with absolutely uncivilised DHA personnel for no reason,” claimed Adiya. “When they didn’t find sheesha being served, they simply dug out equipment from our stores and made a cheap, flashy video of the whole scenario.”
The DHA spokesperson, on the other hand, said that previously there were multiple cafes and restaurants at Sehar Commerical serving sheesha but after the ban, they stopped doing so. “But we received information that Latte Lounge was still serving sheesha and that is why we only raided one café.” The spokesperson added that the authority is committed to closing down all sheesha joints within its jurisdiction in order to “save the youth”
“Many parents have asked us to closedown these sheesha lounges which are instrumental in spreading waywardness in the society. We also have instructions from the interim government and the Supreme Court of Pakistan to shut down such venues.”
Regular sheesha cafe goers, however, appear to find nothing wrong with the habit. Ahmed Faraz, a regular sheesha smoker, said that the DHA should also seize the cabins selling cigarettes and pan as they are also injurious to health and a menace to the society. “This is all staged as there are many venues serving sheesha – the crackdown shouldn’t be only in one area, but all over the city.”
Last Wednesday, on April 3, two cafes in Khayaban-e- Rahat – Luminous and D Lounge – were sealed after several raids. Around 30 flavours of tobacco were found from the venues. The DHA conducted the raids under the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance 2002.
[via Express Tribune]