LAHORE - The Punjab Halal Development Agency, Halal Research Council and a large number of local companies, during the 3rd International Halal Conference and Expo, have signed more than six Memorandum of Understandings with foreign trade bodies and business firms to promote halal trade by taking all measures to strengthen the relationship amongst the stakeholders of Halal trade and industry of the world especially of our region, establishing connectivity between national and international market leaders through sharing of best practices, market trends and experiences.This was stated by Justice (Retd) Khalil-ur-Rehman Khan, who is heading the Punjab Halal Development Agency. While talking to The Nation, he said that during International Halal Conference and Expo, which was organized by Halal Research Council and PHDA, several B to B meetings were arranged to facilitate halal industry stakeholders while millions of rupees orders were also booked.Justice (Retd) Khalil-ur-Rehman Khan, who is learned Shariah Scholar and working for the cause of halal trade in its true sense in the country for a long time, said that the mega show displayed the halal trade potential of Pakistan. In the event, more than 30 renowned importers of Halal Industry from Malaysia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Indonesia, Argentina, Australia, USA and Russia participated. He said that the event provided a unique opportunity to the local entrepreneurs, business houses dealing in food & non-food products especially the exporters of mutton, beef, poultry and allied industries to showcase their products.He said that the representatives of Halal Trade and Industry, Government Functionaries, Organizations and Institutions of the Republic of Indonesia, Malaysia, State of Penang (Malaysia), Royal Thai Government, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Government of Punjab, Government of Pakistan have passed a declaration to create awareness about Shariah Principles and ensure their strict compliance so as to comply with the message of God Almighty (Rabb-ul-Alamin, One and the only One Lord of the Universe known to mankind as well as not yet comprehended by mankind) and His Messenger the Prophet of Islam (Peace Be Upon Him) the Rehmatulil Alamin.He said that the participants of the moot resolved to discharge the bounden duty of providing Halal & Tayyib food & non-food products necessary mechanism and measures shall be adopted to share with the Halal Industry the Shariah compliant processes as well as quality standards of production of Halal Food & Non-Food products.“To ensure Halal and Tayyib products and services it is affirmed that utilization of Islamic finances, free from Riba (SOOD) is essential as it is recognized that a product produced or service rendered by employing Riba infested finances shall remain Haram despite following the Shariah compliant processes of production. The Islamic Financial Institutions shall have to play their role in making investment in the Shariah compliant processes of production and services.” According to PHDA chief, the participants of the Halal Expo committed to strengthen relationship with Market Leaders, Economic Planners, Producers, Consumers, Businesses so as to promote peace, harmony, compassion, kindness and fellow feelings amongst different segments of societies, countries, Muslims and Non-Muslims. This message of peace, love and affection between man and man and for all the living entities including animals, shall be followed and practical shape, he added.It was also declared Halal conference contributors would take measures for facilitating capacity building of the stakeholders of the Halal Trade & Industry. To a question Justice (Retd) Khalil-ur-Rehman Khan said that Punjab Halal Development Agency (PHDA) was formed through an executive order with the aim of prescribing Halal standards, auditing and certification procedure and system.He said that technical experts, having diversified background has been included in his team. According to him, the creation of PHDA is a step toward making Pakistan as Halal hub by opening new vistas for entering the global Halal market while serving the domestic consumer market. The demand for healthy and safe agro-livestock food products is increasing rapidly with increasing population growth rate and socio-economic conditions. This will also open up new economic opportunities and employment for the youth and traders, he added. Justice (Retd) Khalil-ur-Rehman, who served as a judge of Federal Shariat Court and also drafted the bill for Pakistan Halal Development Authority to promote halal trade at the centre level, said that the bill is being presented in the national assembly very soon. It is note worthy that the Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman is serving the PHDA without any pay and perks and he even uses his own transportation to perform the office job.He informed this scribe that the PHDA was established for coordinating overall development of Halal industry and devising a comprehensive strategy to spearhead the coordination and facilitation in Halal sector through R&D interventions in collaboration with national and international research institutes. Moreover, the agency has been given the task of prescribing standards and Halal certification of the various products, including meat, dairy, food and beverages, fruit/vegetables, grains and oil seeds, ingredient sector, animal by-products, consumer-care product and pharmaceuticals. He stated that it would issue Halal certificate, verifying that the products meet Islamic guidelines laid down by the Shariah.