Pakistan on Thursday strongly rejected reports that it had dispatched packets of ‘beef masala’ as part of relief aid sent to earthquake-hit Nepal — a Hindu-majority country that treats cows as sacred.
Foreign office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said that there was no beef content in the ready to eat food dispatched by Pakistan to Nepal. Urging the Indian media not to ‘malign’ the humanitarian assistance effort in Nepal, Aslam said the people of Nepal really liked the food dispatched by Pakistan and even requested for more.
The strong reaction from Pakistan comes after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Thursday to offer condolences and sympathies over the loss of precious lives and devastation caused by the earthquake that hit India on 25 April.
Earlier it was reported that Indian doctors at Kathmandu’s Bir Hospital told Mail Today that packets of ‘beef masala’ were sent by Pakistan on Tuesday as part of relief aid to the quake survivors.
These doctors – drawn from Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) — are members of a 34-member medical team sent to Nepal for treating the survivors.
“When we reached the airport to collect the food items from Pakistan, we found packets of ready-to-eat meals, including packets of ‘beef masala’. There were other food items too,” Dr Balwinder Singh was quoted as saying.
Singh continued, “we did not touch the Pakistani aid.”
“Most of the local people are not aware of the contents. When they understand, they avoid it,” said another doctor on the condition of anonymity.
Exclusive pictures revealed the origin of the packets of ‘beef masala’ to be Nowshera Cantt in Pakistan. These packets also prominently mention that these are not for sale and the contents include ‘potato bhujia’ and ‘beef masala’.
A top Nepal government official confirmed that “The matter has been conveyed to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and the intelligence chief. We are also starting an internal inquiry to verify the facts. If the report is correct, we will raise the matter at the diplomatic level with Pakistan. India, being our key partner, will also be informed of the developments.”
Foreign Office spokesperson, Tasnim Aslam was quoted to have said “I am not aware of the issue…I am not responsible for the dispatch. The relief aid is sent by the National Disaster Management Authority.”
A press note uploaded on the website of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Pakistan stated “(The) National Disaster Management Authority has dispatched the second of two sorties of C-130 aircrafts on April 28 in collaboration with Pakistan Army, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistan Air Force. The relief goods include 250 tents, 200 food packs, 1,000 Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), 1,000 blankets and 33 cartons of medicines. These relief goods have been provided from NDMA stocks….”
Despite repeated attempts, the officials of the Pakistan NDMA could not be contacted. The food items have been manufactured by PANA Force Foods. The consignment was supplied after receiving orders from Pakistan’s NDMA.
“PANA Force food processing centre aims at providing quality goods at affordable prices. Currently, the company is supplying two brands of products to Pakistan Army commonly known as Meal Ready to Eat (MRE) and Emergency Pack Ration (EP Ration or high-energy biscuits) whereas a plant for the production of dehydrated vegetables and fruits is under construction,” stated the official website of PANA Force Foods.
Further, the website states that the processing centre provides food to civil population during natural calamities, such as earthquakes and floods.
In Nepal — for long the world’s only Hindu state — the first royal order officially prohibiting cow slaughter stated that the punishments for the crime were death and confiscation of all property of the offender.
The first Civil Code of Nepal, the Muluki Ain of 1854, stated “This kingdom is the only kingdom in the world where cows, women, and Brahmins may not be killed.”
An amendment in 1990 to the Civil Code made cow slaughter punishable by 12 years imprisonment.
This article originally appeared on Mail Online