THERE are clear indications that the Government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is determined to give practical shape to its pledges to implement the verdict of the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) regarding the Riba-free economy in five years.
While Ulema representing different schools of thought and experts during their address at the seminar on Hurmat-i-Sood co-hosted by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and the Centre of Islamic Economics were unanimous in their demand to take substantial steps for elimination of the interest from the economy, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar renewed commitment of the Government to implement the challenging task within the specified period.
The nation-wide debate and the active interest being taken by different segments of society on the issue of Riba-free economy is a reflection of the reality that people of Pakistan are fully motivated and prepared to brace the change.
It is also encouraging that fruitful and worthy of consideration proposals are emanating from seminars and discussions being organized by the Government and civil society organizations.
The Pakistan Observer is proud to be one of the pioneers of the campaign for transformation of the economy as per teachings of Islam as it sponsored four high profile round-table conferences on Islamic Banking that were inaugurated by the Presidents of Pakistan and participated by almost all those who matter on the subject and have a role to play towards this cherished goal.
The newspaper is in contact with the Ministry of Finance and the State Bank of Pakistan to host the fifth one in the first quarter of 2023 as part of the efforts to complement plans and programmes to realize the objective of interest-free economy in the shortest possible time.
The resolution that Mufti Taqi Usmani presented at the Karachi seminar on Wednesday, which was unanimously adopted, also listed concrete proposals for the purpose.
It demanded that the Finance Ministry formulate a dedicated division to establish an interest-free economy, under which a task force with the required powers is formed.
This task force should prepare a phase-wise roadmap and have the required authority to eradicate interest.
Responding to the aspirations of the scholars, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced plans to establish an Islamic banking wing in the SBP as well as provide tax relief to companies based on the Islamic economic model.
There are reasons to believe that the economy, banks, financial institutions and the general public would gain from plans to implement the FSC verdict as a massive growth has been witnessed in assets and deposits of Islamic banks in the first quarter of the current financial year, with assets now at Rs7 trillion and deposits at Rs5 trillion, representing 20-21 percent of the total market share.