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National Assembly Body Passes 'Pakistan Halaal Authority Bill'

A parliamentary panel on Thursday unanimously passed “Pakistan halaal Authority Bill, 2015” with recommendation of up to maximum punishment of three years imprisonment and Rs 1 million fine for violating the provisions relating to import/export, marketing of items without halaal logo/description. The National Assembly Standing Committee on Science & Technology met with Tariq Bashir Cheema in the chair and discussed “Pakistan halaal Authority Bill, 2015” and proposed some amendments relating to penalties, powers and functions, constitution of the Executive committee and judiciary matters.

The committee directed the ministry to incorporate such amendments to the draft and unanimously passed the said bill. The parliamentarians as well as officials concerned agreed that there is a need to establish Pakistan halaal Authority to promote imports & exports, trade and commerce with foreign countries and inter-provincial trade and commerce in halaal articles and processes.

Briefing the committee members, the secretary ministry of Science and Technology Fazal Abbas Maken said 85 percent of food imports for OIC are from non-OIC countries where Brazil tops the list with $4.73 billion. Pakistan remains at ninth position with export of $0.2 billion. It was revealed that the ministry does not have the mandate to stop the sale/purchase of items (that may contain any Haram ingredients) in the country. It is a provincial subject and the provincial governments are responsible to discourage items containing haram ingredients.

The proposed law would not only help in discouraging items including haram ingredients but would be used as a tool to capitalise global halaal market. Even India exports certified items having halaal logo; however Pakistan items have no such obligation. The committee members also expressed serious reservations over non-check of haram ingredients in food items even in the federal capital.

According to the proposed law, the government may establish the Pakistan halaal Authority for carrying out the purposes of this Act. The Authority shall be a body corporate having perpetual succession and a common seal, with powers, subject to the provisions of this Act, to acquire and hold property, both movable and immovable and shall by the said name sue and sued.

The Authority would develop and implement strategies, plans and programs for promotion of imports and exports, trade and commerce with foreign counties and inter-provincial trade and commerce in halaal articles and processes. It would recommend mechanism for Accreditation of halaal Certification Bodies and adoption of halaal Certification systems utilising the services of the halaal Accreditation body.

No person shall use, in relation to any article, product or process or in the title of any patent or in any trademark or design the halaal logo except under the terms if a halaal certificate, issued under this Act. No article or process shall be exported from Pakistan with the description or representation of being a halaal article or product unless it bears the halaal logo of the Authority. No food or non-food products shall be marketed of offered for sale with the description or representation of being a halaal article or product within the Islamabad Capital Territory unless it bears the halaal logo of the Authority, having been certified, by the Authority or by an Accredited halaal Certification body.

No court inferior to that of Magistrate shall try any offence punishable under this Act, maintained in the proposed law. The Ministry briefed on the procedure for the election of Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC). It was revealed that on the directives of the Sindh High Court election would be held on August 30, 2015 where the contract has been awarded to NADRA.

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