Although there is uncertainty on who issues halal certification for McDonald’s food sold in Pakistan, there is no ambiguity at all on the importance of eating halal in the life of over 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.
Consequently, a new and dynamic global halal industry is thriving. The halal brand is not only relevant to food but also pharmaceuticals and fashion including make-up, leather bags and shoes. In countries like Malaysia, the government is pushing hard to make the country a global hub for halal products. This is in addition to the central position that Malaysia has already acquired for itself in the field of Islamic banking and finance.
As Pakistan is another country where Islamic banking and finance is thriving – with over 8% share of Islamic banks in the national banking sector – the relevance of the halal industry is even more important. Malaysia is a country with approximately 29 million people, with about 60% Muslim population. Pakistan, on the other hand, has a population of over 170 million, and predominantly Muslim. Furthermore, unlike Malaysia where production and consumption of non-halal items like alcoholic beverages and other food items like pork are readily available, Pakistan has a more pure regime where consumption of alcohol is banned except for a tiny non-Muslim population and the use of pork and other non-halal food items are virtually non-existent. Hence, Pakistan stands a better chance of emerging as a global hub for the halal industry.