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Alcoholism: A Social Evil in Pakistan

By Sanniah Hassan

Alcoholism is a menace which every country tries to control on its citizens. However, the citizens almost always get their hands on it somehow or the other and they have their hearts desire fulfilled. Countries like Saudi Arabia cannot control the intake of alcohol even though they have a very strict sharia law. Alcohol has been around from nearly as early as the dawn of mankind. Man as usual was curious as to what happens with certain things and as far as Alcohol is concerned, curiosity got the better of man and alcohol was invented.

Fermenting grapes was ideally the first type of alcohol to be made, although several other new techniques and derivatives have been invented over the centuries. Even though alcohol is frowned upon in many cultures but it is still readily available in some form or the other in every country or state of the world. Pakistan is no exception. With the founding of Murree Brewery near Murree in 1860, the subcontinent got the best beer available because of British Raj.

When the British eventually left in 1947, they left the brewery as well, with all the skilled staff with it. The current family running the Murree Brewery took over at the time of partition and has since been in control of the company. Murree brewery suffered a massive blow when Zia ul Haq banned alcohol in the country and only allowed non-Muslims with a permit could purchase and consume alcohol. However, with the amount of alcohol sold every day, approximately 80% is sold to Muslims through Christian or Hindu bootleggers.

Over the years the consumption of alcohol has been on the rise, especially because of Muslims even though religiously speaking, alcohol is not allowed in Islam. Some prominent Pakistani musicians and politicians [without naming them] use moderately or abuse alcohol as well. Alcohol has had very little influence otherwise on the public daily life of the common people. However, those of whom who have made alcohol their life and purpose of living are sadly leading a very gruesome reality. All we can do is pray that these lost souls be able to come back to reality and lead a normal life, so they can live the life they truly deserve.