It was the time in the 1960s when even Fazlur Rahman Malik, the head of the Central Institute of Islamic Research under Ayub Khan’s rule, insisted there was nothing wrong with drinking beer.
The country’s Westernised founding fathers and their successors loved to have a drink and sat on the periodic demands of a ban on alcohol in Pakistan until the 1970s when the prohibition—at least on paper—was imposed.
Pakistan’s British-educated founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah drank in moderation and ate ham sandwiches and pork sausages. He shortened his name to westernize it. Jinnah’s successor, the Oxford-trained lawyer Liaquat Ali Khan, was cast in a similar mould. On his May 1950 trip to Washington DC, Khan impressed American Assistant Secretary of State George McGhee with his capacity to hold his drink.
eneral Yahya Khan, who led the Pakistan Army in the 1971 Bangladesh war against India, was known to be a ‘hard drinking man’
His fall in the aftermath of the war led to the rise of populist leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’, who had no qualms about publicly accepting his fondness for the bottle.
April 1977 for prohibition.
Murree Brewery doubled its alcohol production in 2016. Its profits went up by almost 100% since 2012 to reach $19.6 million in 2017. The brewery’s domestic market is supposedly restricted to non-Muslim Pakistanis, expatriates, and foreign tourists.
Bhutto’s daughter, Benazir, an alumnus of Harvard and Oxford who swept to power after Zia’s death in an air crash, ‘liked a gin and tonic’. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s last military ruler loved whisky. An old-school general, Musharraf was a proponent of what he called enlightened moderation. He spent his formative years in Turkey, where he developed an admiration for Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the ultra-secular Turkish state. Musharraf’s successor and Benazir’s widower, Asif Ali Zardari, ‘is said to be no teetotaller’, wrote Jonathan Foreman in the Telegraph in March 2012.
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