ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Hussain Chaudhry announced on Tuesday that the cabinet had approved the first license for industrial and medical use of hemp, a specific variety of cannabis plant.
Cabinet has approved first License for @MinistryofST and PCSIR for industrial and medical use of Hemp, landmark decision ll place Pakistan in billions of USD CBD market.....
Hemp is used to extract a compound called CBD or Cannabidiol that is widely used for medical and therapeutic purposes. Since cannabis is illegal in much of the world, however, the legal status of CBD is not always certain either.
The European Union allows the sale of CBD in most of its member states under strict regulations.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States says on its website that it “recognizes the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds may offer and acknowledges the significant interest in these possibilities.”
However, the FDA “is aware that some companies are marketing products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and that may put the health and safety of consumers at risk.”
The website adds that the agency is “committed to protecting the public health while also taking steps to improve the efficiency of regulatory pathways for the lawful marketing of appropriate cannabis and cannabis-derived products.”
In Pakistan, a large number of people prefer herbal and traditional medical treatments to more advanced scientific ones since they assume that herbal cures do not have side effects.
Many of these individuals also use CBD that is usually extracted at home.
With the federal cabinet’s decision to allow the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) to carry out the activity under license, people favoring herbal medicines might benefit from the decision, though the science minister did not give further details in his Twitter post.
Afghan Taliban blame foreign Daesh fighter for Pakistan embassy attack
A Pakistani security guard was wounded in a gun attack on Friday
Pakistan called it attempt to assassinate its head of mission, who was unhurt
Updated 10 sec ago
KABUL: Afghanistan’s Taliban said on Monday a Daesh militant attack on Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul was carried out with involvement of unidentified foreign groups with the intention of sowing distrust with Pakistan.
Daesh, which fights the Taliban in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the Friday gun attack on the Pakistani embassy in a statement carried by one of its affiliated channels on the Telegram messaging service on Sunday.
A Pakistani security guard was wounded in the attack that Pakistan called an attempt to assassinate its head of mission, who was unhurt.
Pakistan has for decades had good relations with the Afghan Taliban but recently ties have been strained over security concerns on their common border.
The Taliban said they had arrested one suspect and recovered two guns and Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement the suspect was a foreign Daesh member.
“Behind the attack there is the hand of some foreign groups and their aim is to create distrust between the two brotherly countries,” Mujahid said.
He did not say which country the suspect was from. An investigation was continuing, he said.
The Daesh affiliate in Afghanistan has claimed several high-profile attacks in Kabul in recent months, including a suicide blast outside the Russian embassy in September.
Pakistan said earlier it was consulting Afghan authorities to verify the report of a Daesh claim of responsibility for the attack.
Pakistan said it had no plan to close the embassy and the head of the mission was in Pakistan for consultations.
KARACHI: Ashfaq Yousuf Tola, chairman of recently formed Reforms and Resource Mobilization Commission (RRMC) of Pakistan, on Sunday said he was "confident" of playing a catalyst role in the simplification of the country’s complex taxation system and cut the informal, parallel economy to size.
Pakistan has been grappling with a widening current account deficit, a balance-of-payment crisis and inflation hovering around historic highs in recent months. The South Asian nation has also witnessed an economic slowdown in the wake of recent floods that have damaged huge infrastructure and agriculture output.
Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar last week constituted a powerful commission to review the existing revenue policies, identify issues and risks of existing tax system, review budget proposals and evaluate their consequences as well as review complexities of tax legislation.
Tola, who is currently serving as a technical advisor on the Board of International Federation of Accountants, would directly work under the finance minister and hold a full-time office at the Islamabad headquarters of the national tax agency, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
“This commission is completely independent and will play a key role in addressing complex taxation and other economic issues,” Tola told Arab News in an exclusive interview on Sunday.
“The commission will have access to analyses, revenue policies and meet with the stakeholders. The commission will have its input in budget and budget evaluation.”
The RRMC head, president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), has an experience of over 30 years in financial and forensic auditing, tax advisory and corporate structuring.
The 11-member commission headed by him comprises FBR chairman, experts on taxation and economy, and representatives of the business community.
This is the second commission formed by Dar in the last eight years and is given both short- and long-term objectives, with a major focus on finalization of taxation measures for next fiscal years.
“This commission is completely different from the previous one and it has no lifecycle,” Tola said. “This time strong players have been picked up for the commission who have the capability to deliver.”
Asked how the commission would work, Tola said it would form different sub-groups to come up with assessments of their relevant fields.
“For instance, economists would be tasked to evaluate the size of parallel economy and the chartered accountants would be asked to draw global comparison and identify snags and [present] recommendation on how to rectify them,” he explained.
Pakistan has complex taxation measures in place, which experts say are highly "oppressive" in nature.
“Pakistan’s tax system is complicated, fragmented, oppressive, narrow and anti-growth. It has one of the highest rates for the corporate sector,” Dr Ikramul Haq, a Lahore-based taxation expert, told Arab News.
“It is highly oppressive for salaried persons and citizens with fixed income living under hyperinflation. It levies and collects main taxes at import stage, making exports uncompetitive and increasing the already heavy cost of doing business.”
The Tola-led commission is assigned a daunting task to come up with recommendations to reform the ages-old taxation system and broaden the tax net.
Pakistan has less than 3.5 million income tax filers, with a majority declaring its income below the taxable limit or reporting losses. The number of individuals registered for sales tax is less than 350,000 and actual payers are less than 85,000, the rest claim refunds, according to official data.
Haq suggested dismantling the fragmented tax structure by giving power to the federation to levy and collect tax from all sources, including from the ones whose income is based on agriculture.
Provinces should have exclusive jurisdiction over harmonized sales tax on goods and services and all these should be collected through a national tax agency, he added.
The RRMC is given an April 2023 deadline to submit its first report, which Tola is confident to meet.
To a question about the timing of the RRMC formation amid an uncertain and fluid political and economic situation, Tola said the formation of the commission was a "good initiative" and must be kept apolitical.
“This is a good thing formed and if it is kept apolitical that would be good for the country,” he said.
He, however, conceded that there was no guarantee of the commission’s future in case the government changes.
Pakistan has been hit by political instability for years now, which has aggravated since the ouster of former prime minister Imran Khan in April.
The instable political situation has been taking a toll on the country's frail economy, already suffering from devastating impacts of the floods.
KARACHI: Beauty and fragrance brands across Pakistan have been importing a product which has long dominated the Middle East culture and is widely used in traditional Arab households and markets.
'Bakhoor,' or agarwood chips, are used to spread lingering fragrance at homes, shops and offices. Pakistani businesses have been bringing these scented bricks from Arab countries before offering their different varieties to customers.
A salon in Karachi, for instance, provides hair bakhoor scalp treatment which, it says, is quite popular in the Arab World.
"Bakhoor is in high demand in Pakistan," Adeel Shafiq Alam, chief executive officer of an Arabian fragrance shop, Souk Galleria, told Arab News.
Alam's organization has been doing good business in Karachi and Lahore since 2020 and boasts international outlets in places like Dubai and the United States.
"We import bakhoor from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates," Alam added. "Bakhoor farming is not common in Pakistan. Even if we start it today, it will take another 25 years for us to benefit from it. A large number of people in Pakistan are still not very familiar with bakhoor."
Alam, whose business offers several types of bakhoor products, said people used to ask him all sorts of questions about the scented bricks when Souk Galleria started advertising bakhoor in Pakistan two years ago.
"Many of them want to buy bakhoor but are usually deterred by high prices," he continued. "Most of them find it difficult to afford good quality bakhoor, which can cost around Rs1,000 per gram."
The incense chips, which have been used in the Middle East for centuries, are said to have several medical and psychological benefits. Some say they change people's mood and relieve them of stress and anxiety.
"The future of bakhoor is bright in Pakistan since many people from this country visit Arab states, especially for Hajj and Umrah, and see how Arabs use these scented chips," Shiekh Faisal Ghani, chairman of Saeed Ghani, a popular Pakistani brand for herbal and skincare products, told Arab News.
Ghani's business offers bakhoor fragrances that include Oud Wood, Oud Combodi, Oud Kindi and Oud Amber.
"Ninety-nine percent of bakhoor is imported from Gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman," he added.
Karachi's Scalpxury, a beauty salon, says it is the only place in the country offering bakhoor hair treatment.
"Hair bakhoor are different from normal bakhoor sold in Pakistan. The fragrance and texture are slightly different and they give longevity to one’s hair," said Shehla Khan, the salon owner.
"Conventionally and commercially, hair bakhoor are not available in the market. I get them from the Arab region."
Khan said her business was different since it was not retailing or selling bakhoor, but using them to offer a popular variety of hair treatment.
ISLAMABAD: The second phase of the Pakistan T20 Women's Cricket Tournament is scheduled to kick off from December 5, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Sunday.
The first phase of the tournament concluded earlier this week on Friday.
The second phase, which will begin from Monday, will be held at two venues in Lahore: The Lahore Gymkhana and the LCCA Ground, the PCB confirmed.
"Four teams namely Blasters, Challengers, Dynamites and Strikers will feature in the event where Pakistan's elite cricketers will take part," the country's cricket board said in a statement.
The second phase will be played on a single-league basis, where two matches will be held everyday on 5, 6 and 7 December.
The final of the tournament will take place at Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium on December 9 which will also be live-streamed for viewers on the PCB's YouTube channel.
“The tournament provides a great opportunity for players to kick-start their preparations for the ICC Women's T20 World Cup in South Africa later next year and hone their skills in the format," it added.
The contest will feature a blend of Pakistani cricketers who have represented their country internationally along with the emerging talent in the game.
In order to incentivize domestic performers, the best player of every match will continue to receive Rs20,000 as they were getting in the first phase of the tournament. The player of the tournament will bag Rs50,000. The winning team will receive Rs1 million, while the runner-up will get Rs0.5 million.
Fatima Sana (Captain), Aima Saleem, Anam Amin, Ayesha Bilal, Ayesha Naseem, Bismah Maroof, Fareeha Mehmood, Gul Rukh, Huraina Sajjad, Maham Manzoor, Mahnoor Aftab, Masooma Zehra, Shawal Zulfiqar, Sidra Amin and Amber Kainaat
Team management – Mauhtashim Rashid (head coach), Shahid Mehmood (assistant coach), Mahlika Mansoor (manager)
Omaima Sohail (Captain), Aiman Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anoosha Nasir, Ayesha Zafar, Dua Majid, Ghulam Fatima, Hamna Bilal, Javeria Wadood, Khadija Chishti, Lubna Behram, Najiha Alvi, Noreen Yaqoob, Rameen Shamim and Rida Aslam
Team management – Azam Khan (head coach), Nazim Khan (assistant coach), Asiya Khan (manager)
Umm-e-Hani (Captain), Aleena Shah, Gull-e-Uswa, Gull Feroza, Kainat Imtiaz, Nahida Khan, Nida Dar, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Saima Malik, Saira Jabeen, Sidra Nawaz, Tuba Hassan, Waheeda Akhtar and Yusra Amir
Team management – Taufiq Umar (head coach), Jawad Hamid (assistant coach), Hina Azam (manager)
Muneeba Ali (Captain), Aroob Shah, Ayesha Irfan, Eymaan Fatima, Fatima Khan, Iram Javed, Javeria Rauf, Kaynat Hafeez, Maham Tariq, Nashra Sundhu, Natalia Parvaiz, Neha Sharmeen, Saba Nazir, Soha Fatima and Zunera Shah
Team management – Waqar Orakzai (head coach), Rehmat Gull (assistant coach), Aisha Jalil (manager)