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Pakistan Senate Committee approved Halal Food products bill WORLDHALAL

(Islamabad-NewsHalal, Rabi`II 17, 1437, January 27, 2016) In Islamabad the Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology approved the ‘Pakistan Halal Authority Bill, 2015’, paving way for the up-gradation of food related laws in the country.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the committee held with Senator Usman Saifullah in the chair on Monday. The bill, already approved by the National Assembly of Pakistan in December 2015, will now be presented in the upper house for approval.

Science and Technology Secretary Fazal Abbas Maken reportedly informed the committee that the ministry had been working on the bill since 2011, and all concerns of stakeholders about it had been addressed.

Minister for Science and Technology Rana Tanvir Hussain asked the committee to approve the bill so that it could be presented in the Senate. He emphasised the need for a strong body to keep vigil on food items.

He said there were possibilities of non-Halal items being used even in sweets and chocolates, and without certification such products could be imported and sold in the market.

The committee members said that laws were needed to discourage sale of items containing Haram ingredients. They expressed reservations over the fact that there was no check on use of Haram ingredients in preparation of food items.

The committee was informed that the bill recommended a maximum punishment of three years imprisonment and Rs1 million fine for violating the provisions relating to import/export and marketing of items without Halal logo/description.

Lawmakers agreed that there was a need to establish a single authority to promote trade and commerce with foreign countries keeping in view the "Halal" aspects of food and non-food items, including leather and other products.

It was told that the Ministry of Science and Technology did not have the mandate to stop the sale or purchase of items that might contain any Haram ingredient.

Mr Maken reportedly said, it was a provincial subject and provincial governments were responsible to check the sale of items containing Haram ingredients.

The authority would develop and implement strategies for promotion of imports and exports, and trade and commerce with foreign counties and among provinces in Halal articles.

Senator Mian Mohammad Atiq Sheikh suggested that the representative of either poultry or meat sector should be included as a private member in the Board of Pakistan Halal Authority.

If the suggestion is approved by the Senate the bill will again be forwarded to the Natio­nal Assembly for approval with amendment.

In December 2015, the National Assembly of Pakistan passed a bill to establish the Pakistan Halal Authority to promote trade and commerce in Halal food products and to capture Pakistan’s share in the trillion of dollars international Halal food business.

The proposed Pakistan Halal Authority will be tasked to recommend “Halal standards for government-notified articles and processes for adoption by a National Standards Body in accordance with comprehensive guidelines of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), provide for certification of Halal products and authorize a halal logo.” According to the bill, among Halal animals are listed domestic animals such as cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, camels, chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys; non-predatory animals such as deer, antelope, chamois, wild cattle; and non-predatory birds such as pigeons, sparrows, quails, starlings, and ostriches.

The non-Halal list includes: pigs, dogs, and their descendants; animals not slaughtered in the name of Allah or not according to Islamic rules; animals that died of themselves; animals with long pointed teeth or tusks used to kill prey or defend themselves such as bears, elephants, monkeys, wolves, lions, tigers, panthers, cats, jackals, foxes, squirrels, martens, weasels and moles, crocodiles and alligators; predatory birds with sharp claws such as hawks, falcons, eagles, vultures, ravens, crows, kites, owls; pests and venomous animals such as rats, centipedes, scorpions, snakes, wasps, mouse and other similar animals; animals that are considered repulsive like lizards, snails, insects and their larva and other similar animals; animals forbidden to be killed in Islam such as honeybees and hoopoe; donkeys and mules; any ingredient derived from non-halal animals; and farmed Halal animals intentionally and continually fed with non-Halal food.

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Halal sector is growing ever fastest pace all around the world while awareness about Halal among Muslim consumers is also increasing with every passing day. Not just Halal Foods and Beverages but Halal Tourism, Halal Cosmetics, Halal Pharmaceuticals, Halal Fashion and Islamic Finance sector is rapidly growing.

The global Halal food market will be worth US$1.6tn by 2018, up from US$1.1tn in 2013, according to a report commissioned by Dubai Chamber of Commerce.