"The stores are supposed to sell only to non-Muslims, but they don’t discriminate. Owners have to pay off the police, though, and any dispute can result in the shops having to close down. The laws can be cruel and absurd. Last summer, the local police in Karachi banned liquor stores from keeping freezers, in order to stop consumers from buying a cold beer. Apparently chilled beer was a threat to our faith and to peace, but warm beer was just warm beer. In late October, a High Court judge ordered the closure of all these stores after accepting a petition that said alcohol is prohibited not only in Islam but in Christianity and Hinduism, too. This ban means that only those who can afford imported liquor will keep buying from a flourishing network of bootleggers.... The rich drink in their own homes and frolic or puke on their own lawns, but the assumption is that if the poor get drunk in public spaces, they’ll make a nuisance. Which is why those who can afford fine scotches can also afford to give everyone else lectures about our religious duties. It seems that those who suck the blood of poor people want to make sure it’s not tainted with cheap alcohol...."
Writes the novelist Mohammed Hanif in a NYT op-ed titled "Pakistan Has a Drinking Problem."
What a delightful writing style! I'm going to read all his other NYT op-eds — there are 10 of them — linked here. Why have I not noticed him before?
Here's one of his novels, "A Case of Exploding Mangoes."