Pakistan overturns ban on booze . . . for export

Pakistan is known for a lot of bad things but it is time for us to be known for some good things too, like our beer,” says the owner of Pakistan’s oldest brewery in Rawalpindi, just next to the capital Islamabad. Under Pakistani law, drinking alcohol is illegal for Muslims – who make up 97 per cent of the country’s 173 million people – although no one has been lashed for drinking since the 1980s.

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PAKISTANI BEER BETTER THAN GERMAN, SCANDINAVIAN, BRITISH AND AMERICAN BEERS

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by news.com.au

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IT IS an Islamic republic where alcohol is forbidden to 97 per cent of the population and drinkers can face 80 lashes of the whip under holy law – but in a move set to anger religious conservatives, Pakistan is poised to become an exporter of beer.

 An official in the Ministry of Commerce in Islamabad told The Times that a ruling this month by its Economic Committee on Trade would allow Pakistan to export beer and spirits from next year.

 “India would be the largest market for our alcoholic products. It would be exported through non-Muslim enterprises to non-Muslim countries,” the official said.

 The change in law, which requires final approval by the Prime Minister, was welcomed today by Sabih-ur-Rehman, a retired army major who runs Murree Brewery, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. It is licensed to produce beer and spirits for consumption by foreigners and Pakistani minorities, including Christians and Hindus.

The owners of Murree Brewery say that demand for their beer is growing. Picture: AP

“The sky is the limit. If we get the permission we plan to distribute everywhere,” he said.

 Alcohol exports were banned by Pakistan in 1977 by the then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the father of Benazir Bhutto, in a move to favor Islamist groups.

 “Pakistan is known for a lot of bad things but it is time for us to be known for some good things too, like our beer,” Isphanyar Bhandara, whose family owns the brewery, said.

 Under Pakistani law, drinking alcohol is illegal for Muslims – who make up 97 per cent of the country’s 173 million people – although no one has been lashed for drinking since the 1980s.

Related Post:

Pakistan: Of Terrorism & Tipplers
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Published in: on 24/10/2011 at 7:50 pm  Comments (5)  
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  1. Do I see an under-current of deception here? As an American non-Muslim and one who maybe has only five drinks a year, I can foresee many problems for Pakistanis. One is having to start an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) for those who cannot control the often devastating. effects of alcoholism, one in particular – the destruction of the all too important family unit. I’ve seen this happen all to often. Just beware of wolves in lambs clothing…

  2. Alcohol exports were banned by Pakistan in 1977, by the then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, father of Benazir Bhutto, in a move to favor Islamist groups.
    It is the most hypercritical, funniest joke of Pakistan studies I have ever read in my books.
    This step above made alcoholic drinks more costly in our society, where every one can have it any time any where, and I think all brands are available in Pakistan even at places where people can’t think of it.
    Beers are made in many Islamic countries as non alcoholic drinks, but a produce of much better quality comes from Pakistan’s wineries.

    • Yes, Nazia, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as prime minister of Pakistan was the person who banned export of alcohol and put a strict legal sanction against its use by Muslims. Though he was himself a drinker, a fact to which he acknowledged himself in a public meeting by saying that “Yes I do drink alcohol but not the blood of the poor, which my opponents do”. The poor ZAB had to pay the price of his admission when his opposition exploited this statement during the so called Islamisation campaign launched by the main opposition “Pakistan National Alliance”.

      ZAB had banned alcohol primarily to appease the Maulvis but the Maulvis had by now recognized their potential of exploiting religious sentiments to the benefit of their own political agendas, so they used it more aggressively against him and ultimately maneuvered to bring a martial law in the country, which was staged by a despotic general of the army Zia-ul-Haq. It was Zia who ultimately hanged ZAB, a decision which many neutral observers term as a judicial murder.

      Apart from what my friend Steve Gaylord has said in his comment, I do not though differ much from what he has said, there is another aspect to the issue and that is: After banning alcohol by ZAB and later its draconian enforcement under Zia’s doctorial regime, I once met a friend who was then in a senior position in the provincial social welfare department of Punjab. This department mainly is concerned with stats of narcotics especially their impact on the society in general. He told me that ever since the ban on alcohol, the use of heroin has touched historical proportions. Why? Because the authorities were not so forcefully implementing the laws against use of heroin as they were doing against the use of alcohol in Pakistan.

      My late brother who remained active in Punjab politics for the last forty years, as head of opposition in the Punjab provincial assembly when Mian Nawaz Sharif used to be the Chief Minister Punjab, once tried to raise this issue but all the opposition members told him that by doing this they would come under pressure of the Maulvis and, therefore, he better not touch this on floor of the Punjab Provincial Assembly.. Even then, he did raise this issue though, understandably he did not muster much support from his colleagues because our elected representatives were as much afraid of the Maulvis as they are today.

      The same guy from the Social Welfare Deptt. also divulged to me that with a strict censor on Pakistani cinema films, there had been a sporadic rise in cases of rape, dacoity and murders in the areas which had previously a negligible number of such crimes.

  3. […] 1. Pakistan: Of Terrorism & Tipplers 2. Pakistan overturns ban on booze . . . for export […]

  4. […] 1. Pakistan: Of Terrorism & Tipplers 2. Pakistan overturns ban on booze . . . for export […]


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