By Andy Wells

Islamabad (Reuters) Anyone caught smoking or eating openly during Ramadan in Pakistan will be slapped a three-month prison term.

Senator Tanveer Khan told a Standing Committee that a hard line should be taken on anyone breaking the rule, which would also see them fined 500 rupees (£3.70).

TV channels and cinemas that violate the law will be fined a minimum of 500,000 rupees (£3,700).

Minister of State for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony Pir Amin Ul Hasnat Shah also suggested closing down cinemas for the entire duration of the holy month.

Muslims are forced to fast during the day from before sunrise to just after sunset during Ramadan – meaning no food or drink, as well as no signs of affections to spouses in public.

Restaurants and food stalls are closed throughout the months as it is illegal to eat in public, although up until now the rule has not been enforced by law.

However, the rule is generally observed as a sign of respect and to avoid criticism from others.


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