It is unclear how directly the salesman is quoting Jamat-e-Islami’s reasons for banning it, but could this involve the old conspiracy theory that “Pepsi” stands for “Pay Each Penny to Save Israel?”
In any case, you can love death, but not Pepsi Cola. Nor are you off the hook if you would love death and Pepsi. It’s an either/or thing, apparently.
LAHORE: “Coca Cola converted to Islam a year or two back apparently, but not the other beverages, well not yet”, says Khalid* laughing. “Shezan is manufactured by Ahmadis so we can neither sell the beverage nor their jams, and Pepsi is still a Jewish drink, so it is banned.”
Khalid*, a canteen salesman at the new campus of Punjab University (PU) is referring to the unofficial ban on select beverages at the university campus by the the Islami Jamiat-e-Talba (IJT) “” an ongoing protest that was formulated after the publishing of controversial Danish caricatures of the Prophet (PBUH) in 2005.
The IJT, the student wing of the Jamat-e-Islami is known to interfere in the management of not just students affairs at Punjab University but the faculty as well. One duty the IJT assumes as its own is to control what is sold, where and to whom. Their control of such matters ensures that even while discussing regulations forced by the IJT on canteens, Khalid was scared of being seen speaking to this scribe or being overheard commenting against the IJT.
For years only “Shandy Cola” was allowed to be sold on campus, a drink that students found “tasteless”. Shezan a local product was also banned by the IJT because the manufacturers were Ahmadis. This ban on beverages was partially lifted in 2008, however, canteen workers, owners and students say beverage distributors pay the IJT for permission to sell specific products.
Javed Sami, Residential Officer Punjab University who is in charge of canteen contracts and what will be sold at the new campus claims “Shezan is not sold because it is not in demand any more. If you look around, many shops do not sell Shezan. That is why it is not available at the campus canteen.”
The IJT cabinet’s new President Rai Haq Nawaz says “We just represent the students, and because Shezan is owned by Ahmadis, the students do not want it on campus and that is why we do not allow it.”
Aside from banning beverages, the IJT also plays the role of moral police at PU. The reason why Muhammad Aslam* had to stop selling shawarmas at his tuck shop was because the IJT told him that “too many male and female students hang out” outside his shop and eating this food item was their excuse. Aslam, who has been running the tuck shop at PU”s new campus for 12 years says he could sense an ultimatum when given one from the IJT.
Given that he had been roughed up and had his shop closed down on more than one occasion, Aslam was forced to stop sale of shawarmas. Aslam claims that the reason he was targeted was because he asked members of the Jamiat cabinet to return Rs 18,000 which they owed him.
“They used the excuse of opposite sexes mingling to shut me up” said Aslam.[…]
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual
Over beverages. Honestly.