Interest-free banking in five years: Dar

By Our Correspondent
February 03, 2023

KARACHI: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Thursday vowed government’s complete support to make the banking system interest-free and transform it according to the Islamic principles in five years as per the Federal Shariat Court’s deadline.


Speaking via a video link to the National Islamic Economic Forum Conference-2023, he said the cause of Islamising the banking sector was very close to his heart, as he sincerely wished that the banking systems in Pakistan became interest-free.

“As a sincere follower of the teachings of Islam, it is my earnest desire to get rid of the interest-based financial system,” he said.

He said with the involvement of every stakeholder concerned, including noted religious scholars, financial, and economic experts, Pakistan would easily fulfill the task of making the banking system interest-free and Shariah-compliant within five years.

He said that in his previous tenure as finance minister, he had introduced a number of initiatives to speed up the process of adoption of Islamic principles by the banking system.

He said in the past term, he had offered two percent tax exemption to the listed manufacturing companies that duly adopted the Islamic banking system.

He said that as soon as he had assumed the finance ministry, he implemented expatriates to help ease the country’s current foreign exchange crisis.

Dar applauded Maulana Muhammad Bashir Farooqi, Chairman Saylani Welfare International Trust (SWIT), for his announcement that they would work with other like-minded organisations to contact the donors both inside and outside Pakistan to raise at least $2 billion for the State Bank of Pakistan to assist the importers who have been experiencing severe difficulties because of the rapidly depleting foreign exchange reserves.

The minister offered his assistance to serve as a facilitator between the State Bank and philanthropists that wished to gather donations for assisting the national economy in the hope that Farooqi’s suggestion would be implemented in a transparent, well-regulated, and organised manner.

Farooqi announced to the audience that he intended to work with renowned Pakistani charities like Akhuwat, Citizens Foundation, and Indus Hospital to raise money from Pakistani donors to assist the traders suffering as a result of suspension of imports. Ashfaq Tola, State Minister for Reforms and Resource Mobilization Commission, said the government was fully serious about waging Jihad against the interest-based financial and banking system in the country to end exploitation. State Bank of Pakistan Executive Director Syed Samar Hasnain held out firm assurance on behalf of the SBP to implement an interest-free banking system in Pakistan as per the directives of the Shariat Court.