Lahore High Court Rejects Hakeem’s Request for Poison Ingestion

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has dismissed a unique writ petition filed by a self-proclaimed hakeem, seeking permission to publicly ingest poison in Lahore’s Mochi Darwaza. His intention was to showcase the healing abilities of one of his medicines, claiming it could cure cancer patients.

The judgment, delivered on October 12 by a single-member bench of the LHC, touched on various legal aspects, including euthanasia, drug manufacturing, and distribution in Pakistan.

The LHC emphasized that Pakistan’s state religion is Islam and refrained from delving into the issue of euthanasia’s tenability within the country’s constitutional framework while recognizing that some countries, such as India, accept euthanasia as a fundamental right.

In this case, the petitioner is not a terminally ill patient and seeks permission for a life-risking experiment with the intent of creating a public spectacle. The LHC made it clear that such permission is not warranted by law, as it might disrupt public order and encourage unlawful practices.

Suicide decriminalization in Pakistan, effective from December 28, 2022, meant that the offense under Section 325 of the Pakistan Penal Code had been omitted through the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Act, 2022, as noted by the court.

The court also addressed the issue of allowing the petitioner to publicly consume any substance not registered with the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP). This act would not only violate the law but also constitute criminal offenses, and the judgment referred to the DRAP Act, specifying prohibitions and offenses related to therapeutic goods and alternative medicine.

The LHC highlighted the Poisons Act, 1919, which regulates the importation, possession, and sale of poisons, giving power to the provincial government to regulate the possession of specified poisons in local areas and establishing penalties for violations.

In conclusion, the LHC stated that the relief sought by the petitioner appeared to be more of a publicity stunt disguised as a matter of public interest. Therefore, the court dismissed the petition outright, as granting the requested direction might undermine the authority of existing laws.

Sohaib Rehman

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