1) not specifically. A par file is not much more than a .zip file with a certain content structure ( see the docs) It would not be to difficult to do that yourself.
2) Not my specialty. If there is no progress in the jira, there probably is no work going on in that area
1) Actually, I've already written a quick little task that does this. I was just wondering if there was already work being done there. I would be happy to submit this back into the project if it would be useful.
2) I didn't see any activity regarding it on the JIRA.