KARACHI: Though keeping, rearing, selling, and eating pig is prohibited in Pakistan; export of swine meat (pork) from Pakistan to Afghanistan remained significant in the recent years.
Latest data by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) revealed that around $2.8 million worth of fresh, chilled or frozen swine meat was exported by Pakistan in the nine months (July-March) of Fiscal Year 2015-16 (FY16) and about $447000 worth of swine meat exported in the nine months of FY17.
Afghanistan remained one of the major destinations of Pakistani pork as $2.4 million worth of swine meat in FY16 and $111000 worth of swine meat in FY17 was exported to the neighboring country.
Industry sources claimed that the swine meat is being exported from Pakistan to Afghanistan to cater for the dietary requirements of more than 13,000 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops who are training local forces in Afghanistan. A new NATO-led mission (called Resolute Support) to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions was launched in January 2015.
It is to be noted that thousands of pigs are found in the protected national park areas around Murree, Ayubia, Azad Kashmir and Islamabad. The Pakistani pigs are also called Eurasian wild boars.
However, sources claimed that Americans and other non-Muslims do not eat wild boar meat as they only prefer commercially-raised pork, thus it is a probability that there is hidden pig farming in Pakistan.
The sources claimed that many tones of pig meat are brought to Lahore from Rawalpindi and the authorities are fully aware of the situation but no action has been taken yet.
However, an official of All Pakistan Meat Exporters & Processor Association (APME&PA) categorically denied involvement of any of the association’s members in the export of swine meat.
He was totally unaware whether the export of swine meat is legal from Pakistan or not. For the record, the export of swine meat is legal in Pakistan. According to the Statuary Regulatory Order (SRO) 344(1)/2016 issued by Ministry of Commerce, swine meat can be exported under HS code 0103.0000, 0203.0000, and 4103.3000.