Voice of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Saturday, May 25, 2024

Pink Salt: A national pride

Pakistan is blessed with many wonders and natural resources, ranging from natural gas to coal, precious gemstones, different agricultural products etc.

Pakistan has world’s second largest salt mine known as Khewra Salt mines located in Salt Range in district Jehlum, Punjab.

Enriched with different types of natural salts, Khewra Salt mine produces approximately 98% pure salt. Pakistani Pink salt is also among the list famous worldwide by the name of Himalayan Pink salt.

The pink salt is 98 percent pure in its raw form while the remaining 2 percent is composed of different minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sulphate and moisture. It also has some traces of iron, zinc, copper, manganese and chromium, giving pink tint to this salt and  make it extremely valuable and health friendly.

It is believed that these salt mountains in Khewra were discovered some 800 million years back when Alexander the great and his army was passing through Himalayan range and their horses started licking the salt hills. Then during the British Raj in subcontinent the salt range in Jehlum gained more attention of the English rulers. They started firstever mining in the region in 1878. Since then Khewra mine is producing millions of tons of salt of different varieties including pink salt.

Since the creation of Pakistan, the Himalayan pink salt had been sold to India in the form of halite or rock salt at the cheapest price. India used to stow that salt in small packing with a new label and new names and sell to entire Europe, Africa and Canada under the tag of ‘made in India’. By this hoodwink they were earning 1030 million dollars each year. In this way the actual origin of salt was eclipsed in the international markets for decades.

However, the supply of this valuable salt was ceased last year by the Senate standing committee on commerce and textile. This action was taken as a result of a social media outrage against the export of pink salt to hostile India at very unjustified rates which was profiting the neighbour but not Pakistan. People were of the view that it is a unique natural product and it is important to trademark it as a Pakistani product.

The Himalayan Pink salt is of many uses. It is used as common table salt, for decorative purposes, medical use, for treatment of asthma patients, salt bath and in many other ways. In western countries the illuminating lamps and tiles made up of pink salt are very famous.

Patently the importance of Himalayan Pink salt is very high, but woefully we lack proper management and exporting of this exorbitant resource. Pink salt deserves a slick and glossy marketing campaign. Although a local company has introduced it in international markets as Pakistani brand but the government should extend all possible support to make the business of Pakistani salt stand firm in foreign markets since these mines have the capacity to easily fulfill the requirement of salt to half of the world. Pakistan can support its economy by properly refining the pink salt, making multiple derivative products from it and sell according to the international market price as a Pakistani brand because this sector has great potential for generating revenue.

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