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Gutka ban case: Court suggests life term for Gutka-makers

KARACHI: A bench of Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday suggested life term in jail for those involved in manufacturing of Gutka and other hazardous substances, ARY News reported.

A doctor of the cancer ward of the hospital informed the bench that around 10,000 patients of mouth cancer visit Karachi’s Jinnah Hospital each year.

The bench was hearing a contempt petition against I.G. Sindh Police and others on non-compliance of the court ruling about ban on Gutka and other injurious substances.

“Such a large number of mouth cancer patients in a single hospital of the city is very surprising,” the bench remarked over the disclosure. “Isn’t it a war-like situation?” the bench questioned. “It is also terrorism, which is claiming lives of humans,” the bench remarked.

“The police and people sitting in the assembly are involved in it. Gutka could not be sold without them,” Justice Salahuddin Panhwar said.

Police knew those people making gutka and also aware about their places of work, the court said.

The matter could not be addressed without action against the involved officers, the bench said.

Secretary Law informed the court that the bill for legislation on the matter has been handed over to the committee, which is expected to be approved within a week.

The bench questioned the sentence of three years jail term recommended for both, the gutka manufacturer and the purchaser. “Those involved in manufacturing of gutka should be awarded life term in jail,” the bench remarked.

“Do you want the court to summon the minister or the chief minister,” the court asked the secretary.

Justice Salahuddin Panhwar in an earlier proceeding said, “People are dying by chewing Gutka but no one sensing (seriousness of) the matter.”

“Factories of Gutka, Mava and Mainpuri should be sealed forthwith,” court said. ” A legislation bill should be tabled in the assembly immediately.”

Advocate Muzammil Mumtaz and others had filed petition in court and sought action against manufacturing and sale of the harmful substances alleging that the police were doing nothing against them.

Gutka is a preparation of chewing tobacco made of crushed areca nut, tobacco, catechu, paraffin wax, slaked lime and sweet or savory flavourings.

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