Caretaker Finance Minister Doctor Shamshad Akhtar has said that development in banking sector is our priority with special emphasis on Islamic Banking in Pakistan. While responding to a motion in Senate raised by Senator Shibli Faraz, she responded by saying that while she was Governor State Bank of Pakistan in recent past, she has taken steps in improving Islamic Finance. She further added that in order to increase interest in Islamic Banking, Sikuk Bonds worth more than 3.6 Billion USD were floated in international market. She added that Islamic Banking In Pakistan was introduced in year 2000 and is growing at the rate of 14.5% per year. At present, 5 banks have completely shifted to Islamic Banking, whereas 16 banks are providing this facility as an alternative National Bank of Pakistan is also on way of Islamic Banking.
Senator Shibli Faraz has forwarded the motion that government should abolish the current system of interest and once the new Government is sworn, 30% of its loans may be given as per Sharia Laws. It was also demanded in the motion that the funds of Ministry of Religious Affairs and that of Hajj and Zakat may also be treated as per Sharia Laws. Doctor Shamshad Akhtar responded by saying that government has no issue in making them Sharia Compliant, however, increasing the size of Islamic Banking in Pakistan by artificial means will be counter-productive.
Senator Shibli Faraz added that Islamic Banking is increasing its impact in Muslim World and funds should be allocated for its growth in Pakistan. Senator Mushtaq Ahmed said that 45 years have passed since 1973 constitution, where it was claimed that financial system will be freed from Ribah, however, no concrete measures have been taken as yet. Senator Rehman Malik added that Sikuk Bonds have nothing to do with Islamic Banking and they are like traditional loans.