Islamabad - Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday constituted a committee under the chair of Minister of State for National Health Services to resolve the issue of writing of warning on cigarette packs with all the stakeholders.

The finance minister constituted the committee during a meeting with a delegation of the British American Tobacco (BAT)/PTC. Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Saira Afzal Tarar was also present on the occasion. The delegation discussed with the finance minister the issue regarding enhancing size of pictorial warning on cigarette packs from 40% to 85% as per SRO issued by the Ministry of National Health Services. The SRO is to be implemented wef 31st of March.

The delegation pointed out that while the tobacco industry was paying taxes and contributing to the national revenue, sale of smuggled brands was already hurting their business which might receive a boost after implementation of the said SRO and also impact the legal sale of cigarettes, considerably cutting down on revenue for the government. While the meeting was unanimous about seriously addressing the issue about illegal sale of cigarettes, it agreed that the matter regarding warning on cigarette packs should be reviewed in consultation with all the stake holders.

The minister with consensus of participants of the meeting directed formation of a committee headed by Minister for National Health Services, comprising members from the Cabinet Division, Finance, Health Services and FBR to look into the matter and put up recommendations within a week.

Senior officials from the PM Office, Ministry of Finance, FBR and National Health Services attended the meeting.