DHA cafés fear huge loss due to sheesha ban
* Youth slam, parents appreciate ban on sheesha and shutdown time for eateries
By Hina Farooq
LAHORE: A majority of café owners in the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) feared a great loss to their businesses after the DHA barred them from serving sheesha (flavoured hookah), their most sold product.
Many restaurants, cafés and clubs in the DHA said their businesses had suffered great losses during the two days of the ban. Now, to attract customers, they are brainstorming for new ideas to attract customers like introducing Thai and Italian cuisines.
DHA officials told Daily Times on Friday that some restaurants situated near the DHA had recorded a steady rise in their businesses because those DHA residents who wanted sheesha were now going over to the restaurants outside the housing society.
Restaurant Reactions: Imran Ali, manager of Masoom’s, told Daily Times that though his café had only a few customers who came for sheesha, the number of customers dropped in the past two days. He said people were thinking that the cafés in DHA had been closed down, along with the ban on sheesha. He said his café was famous for its desserts and bakery products, but not sheesha. Ali said the café would display a banner to explain that the café had not been closed down. He said the ban on sheesha would not affect the café too much.
Asher, spokesperson for Moods café, said his café’s sheesha had been the most popular one among the DHA’s youth and the ban had caused a great loss to his company. He blamed some other cafés for the ban saying that they had been mixing drugs in the sheesha.
Muhammad Shehzad, manager of Café Chill Pill, said the café had started home deliveries for Sheesha. He said the café would introducing new ideas to keep its business from shutting down.
Students slam ban on sheesha: Taha Ibad, a student and a resident of DHA, said that for him, the only charm in the cafés was the sheesha. “If people have been taking drugs with sheesha, it is their personal matter. The authorities should focus on them instead of banning sheesha that had not been laced. He said the DHA should start its own café where they should provide narcotics-free sheesha.
Iman Khan, a student of Defence Degree College, said her friends and she had been going to the cafés only for the sheesha. She said that after the ban had been imposed, the cafés seemed deserted. She criticised the DHA and said the authority should have given the eateries strict orders against mixing narcotics in the sheesha.
Elder residents praise DHA for imposing ban: Wajih Khan, a resident of GG-block, praised the DHA for imposing the ban on sheesha and ordering the eateries to close by midnight on weekdays and at 1am on weekends. He said he had always objected to the cafés’ environments where the “children were being spoiled and going home late at night”.
Mrs Naila Chaudhry, a resident of W-block, said she had always been against the cafés. She said a couple of years ago, she had found her son lying dazed in one of his friends’ car. She said he had taken an over-dose of drugs at a nearby café. “That was the last day I had allowed my son to be a part of youth gatherings,” she said. She appreciated the DHA’s steps.