Even it is unthinkable to touch non-Halal products (highly impermissible by Islam), especially meat and other commodities, 90 percent of people are unnoticeably eating and using Haram products believing them as Halal in the length and breadth of the country.
In a stark revelation covertly leaked by Pakistan Halal Products Development Board, Punjab Halal Development Agency (PHDA), Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC), poor masses do not know what they have been consuming in the name of Halal that has actually been nothing to do with even Muslim dietary law enshrined in the 1973 Constitution.
“Majority of butchers are ignorant of Islamic modalities regarding pre-slaughtering and post-slaughtering procedures of animals. They just slay the animals and provide mutton, beef and chicken meat to the public that is not Halal. Meanwhile, food items are made of such stuff banned by other Muslim countries due to their ingredients are forbidden by Islam. Cosmetic, pharmaceutical, chemicals and other industries are scot free to use prohibitive imported materials,” officials disclosed.
It is indicated by the fact that in the world of the Halal market of 3 trillion dollars catering to 57 Muslim countries including Arab states; Pakistan share is miserable 0.2 percent.
Even Gulf and the Middle East countries have started barring Pakistan’s meat and other stuff declaring them non-Halal after they are found not following basic Halal standards and Halal certifications direly needed to tag anything Halal in the world.
Non-Halal stuff ranges from meat to various eatables, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, personal care, saloon, garments, chemicals, fast food, kitchen items, footwear, toiletries, and many other commodities.
Despite unsavory phenomenon that is tantamount to inflict religious belief and its sanctity, the government appears inactive in enforcing Halal butchering SOPs, “Halal Standards” for food and manufacturing, Halal export and import, Halal certification, and Halal accreditation so as to help market all products with the logo of “Halal” inside and outside the country.
Pakistan Halal Accreditation Committee member and Jamia Naeemiya chief administrator Raghib Naeemi said that in the absence of Halal SOPs, non-Halal products had been plaguing the market. “Islamic Shariat has laid down rules to define items as Halal and Haram, he said, but who bothers with the letter and spirit.
He emphasized the need for the prompt making of law, sensitization among people, and clamping down on business people to put an end to the Non-Halal practice.
According to startling statistics, 1.71 billion Muslims, or 24th of the world population around the globe make the “Halal Market” very charming.
The Muslim population is growing at the rate of 3 percent per annum and is expected to be 31 percent of the world’s total population by 2025. With this growth ascendency, the global demand for Halal food and Shariah-compliant products and services continues to balloon.
Surprisingly, more than 81 percent of the world Halal trade is done by non-Muslim countries including India, Thailand, China, Brazil, Australia, the US, and Europe.
Utilizing the Halal Brand to their economic benefit, they have emerged as the biggest exporters of Halal products in today’s world. Among Muslim countries, Malaysia is the leading global player in the Halal market. “Pakistan has a tiny role in world’s Halal industry, and its halal export is restricted to the only Middle East,” said Dr. Tanvir, an exporter, and head of Halal Brand “The Meat” in Pakistan.
Pakistan has held five international Halal conferences and Exhibitions to give impetus to the Halal industry. More than 22 MOUs were signed with no results so far.
Recently, CM Punjab Shahbaz Sharif inaugurated the 5th Halal conference organized by Punjab Halal Development Agency (PHDA) and deplored that volume of livestock trade in the world was $1,000 billion. However, Pakistan’s share in the livestock business is almost negligible.
Consultant at PHDA and Manager communication and documentation at Livestock Dairy Development Board Binyamen Shaukat said that Pakistan lacked Halal Standards and certifications. “Except Shapur Kangran Slaughter House, slaughtering of the animal is not being executed as per Shariat Law” he added.
Halal products featuring Halal logo are in great demand even in Non-Muslim countries
Halal is no more just an Islamic value, a code for Muslims to use products only what is allowed by Islam, rather emerging as a “brand” for quality and hygiene even in non-Muslim countries. Halal products bearing the Halal logo are in high demand both in Muslim and Non-Muslim countries.
As demand rises, International food chains have started tuning themselves with Halal trends. Since being certified as Halal, McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, and others noted an increase of 30 percent customers around the world.
On the international front, Pakistan products are not deemed as Halal. A recent survey conducted by Halal Development Project Pakistan laid bare the fact that people in China and Africa abstained from buying Pakistani products as they did not see a Halal Logo on them. However, they picked up those carrying Halal Logo from the shelves.
From the perspective of basic infrastructures, Pakistan can nurture the Halal market to boost up the ailing economy. 40 million people are engaged in the livestock business.
It boasts 99 percent best livestock value chain ranked as the 4th largest livestock population in the world. The poultry industry is progressing with an annual growth rate of 10 to 15 percent. In the absence of Halal regulations and implementation, the situation is dismal so far.
Pakistan meat processor and exporter association official Syed Hassan Raza underlined the need to build Halal infrastructure and government authority to promote the Halal industry. Under the 1963 slaughtering Act, violators stayed unpunished. Malaysia pioneered in making Halal Standards in 1974, but Pakistan enjoyed slumber.
Pakistan Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) asserted to have set up Halal Authentication Laboratory. However, senior officials unveiled the fact that Lab was divested of necessary paraphernalia to detect clinically Halal and Haram products.
Punjab Halal Development Agency (PHDA) has yet to be empowered to exercise its authority. Pakistan Halal Products Development Board (PHPDB) was set up in 2009 to promote halal export and trade, but there is no headway so far.
The establishment of the Pakistan Halal Authority (PHA) is still a pipe dream. In consultation with PHDA, Pakistan Standards, and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC), and other stakeholders, national standards for the Halal industry were outlined, but they are yet to come into effect.
Pakistan Halal Products Development Board (PHPDB) vice-chairperson Hasnain Reza Mirza deplored the ongoing sorry state of affairs and said that the government passed Halal Authority Act 2014 but forgot to incorporate DHPDB into it. Given the situation, he said, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other Muslim countries have been banning Pakistani meat and product terming them non-Halal.
Hasnain Reza said that PHDDB had sent a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to intervene in the situation to put the house in order.
Private bodies including Halal Research Council (HRC) and Halal Development Council (HDC) claim to have the legal power to issue the Halal certification to exporters. However, the government does not recognize them.
Dr. Salman Shah, former caretaker Finance Minister and advisor to the Prime Minister on finance, economic affairs, said: “Pakistan needs to market itself as a committed player in halal certifications.” He also informed that Muslim consumers are increasingly aware of the Halal brand that was why more and more large Halal brands are localizing themselves in different cultures. Pakistan should become the hub of Halal goods and services because of its strategic position in the Arab world and Central Asian countries, he added
Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Senator Kamran Michael had enticed investors with the tax exemption for four years if they initiate halal meat operations during the ongoing year.
Since basic standards and rules have yet to be drafted to declare Halal or Haram, international brands predominantly McDonald’s, Lays, Proctor & Gamble, and Cadbury have been pouring Pakistan market in non-Halal items.
Most of these international brands have been questioned in the past on the issue of their procedures. The local producers and distributors of products like Lays and Cadbury have not only declared their products as Halal but also imprints the stamp on the wrapper.
However, the irony of the fact is that more than 50% of the popular edibles consumed in Pakistan are coming through smuggled channels that do not comply with the Halal SOPs of the country. The lack of awareness among consumers and sheer ignorance on the part of authorities allow these items to be sold in parallel to the locally manufactured flavors.
In a recent development, the Ministry of Science and Technology Pakistan declared 23 imported food products as Haram, these included Bubblicious, Ragu, Pascual Yogi Kids, Chupa Bubble, Rice Chicken Broccoli, Jell-O, Pasta Chicken Broccoli, Chicken Tonight, Skittles, Skittles Fruits Jar, Picnic Chicken, Skittles Fruit 15p, Chicken Soup, SliMa Soup, Yupi Fruit Cocktails, Cup a Soup, Gummi Pizza, Yupi Footballs, Heinz Dinner Chicken, Strawberry Leaf, Pop-Tarts, Tulip Chicken and Pasta Creamy Chicken.
The ministry informed a commerce secretary, member customs, and all chief secretaries of five provinces and AJK to stop imports and sale of food products containing ‘Haram’ ingredients in the country but all in vain.