In response to the recent news that Saudi Arabia is set to open its first alcohol store in Riyadh, exclusively catering to non-Muslim diplomats, Pakistani celebrities are sharing their varied opinions on this unprecedented move. Per Islamic law, alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited for Muslims in the kingdom.
The decision, part of plans to promote tourism and diversify the Saudi economy under the ambitious Vision 2030 initiative, has raised eyebrows and sparked conversations globally. Actor, comedian and host Ahmad Ali Butt took to his Insta Story to express his disapproval of this move. “The end is near,” he declared.
Actor Bilal Qureshi echoed these sentiments, adding a personal note by delving into his childhood in Saudi Arabia. “I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. I could never imagine this would happen there,” the actor wrote with a broken heart emoji in his IG Story.
Previously, alcohol has been available only through diplomatic mail or on the black market. The government on Wednesday confirmed reports in state-controlled media that it was imposing new restrictions on alcohol imports within diplomatic consignments, Reuters reported.
Its Center of International Communication (CIC) said the new regulations had been introduced to counter the illicit trade of alcohol goods and products received by diplomatic missions. “This new process will continue to grant and ensure that all diplomats of non-Muslim embassies have access to these products in specified quotas,” the CIC said in a statement.
The statement did not address the planned alcohol store but said the new framework respected international diplomatic conventions. Vision 2030 also includes developing local industries and logistics hubs and aims at adding hundreds of thousands of jobs for Saudi nationals.
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