Melbourne, June 25 (ANI): The oldest continuing industrial enterprise in Pakistan, Murree Brewery, which thrives in the country despite the fact that 97 per cent of the population cannot drink legally, has gained an export license.
The brewer, however, has been sent into the international beer market with a serious handicap: it can export to non-Muslim countries only, reports The Age.
It can be lonely being a brewer in Pakistan. We are excluded from international trade, because people are afraid to do business in a country associated with the Taliban, and the people here in Pakistan, they don't like to have business with us, because of the (religious) extremist situation, said chief executive Isphanyar Bhandara.
Founded in the northern hill station town of Murree in 1860 by two Englishmen, Murree Brewery is one of the subcontinent's first public companies.
The brewery moved to Rawalpindi in 1910 and business boomed until 1977, when Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto banned alcohol in an effort to court Pakistan's conservative Muslim vote, the report said.
Two years later, a court ruled Bhutto's law breached the rights of minorities and the production line clinked into life again, it added.
Only foreigners with a permit, those with a medical certificate and Pakistan's tiny non-Muslim population (about 3 per cent of 190 million people) are allowed to drink alcohol.
But that 97 per cent figure is not set in stone. Most Pakistanis, particularly those who speak English and live in the major cities, are regular drinkers.
Murree Brewery's desire is to show the international community that Pakistan doesn't have to be known as a country that exports terrorism, that this can be a country that exports beer, said Bhandara. (ANI)