KARACHI - Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair has observed that Islamic finance is fast growing globally and the future of Islamic banking remains bright not only in Muslim countries but also in non-Muslim countries.

Addressing the participants at the inauguration of sixth Islamic Finance Expo and Conference, organised by The Professionals Network (TPN) here on Thursday, the governor stressed the need for looking for more logical reasons to attract people towards Shariah compliant banking as more than 95 percent of people strongly believe that the conventional banking is against Shariah.

“The current 14 percent share of Islamic Banking in the overall banking industry is not sufficient that needs to be enhanced,” he asserted.

He was of the view that for the development of Islamic Banking in Sindh all stakeholders would have to work together. “Sindh lags far behind in terms of development. You go out and see yourself; the cosmopolitan city of Karachi, which was once the center of the whole region, has almost been ruined so  much so that even citizens from other parts of the country are not willing to come to the city,” Zubair said, and added,

“The past glory of Karachi was lost also due to the law and order situation of the city where target killings, extortions, strikes, gang wars, china cuttings were order of the day. But now things are improving.”

The governor categorically declared that “Rangers are not going anywhere” because government wants to ensure that “bad old days” do not return. “Rangers will stay as long as they are required,” he added.

Talking about the condition of basic infrastructure of the city, particularly about the state of transport system, he said that situation in the transport sector was “shameful for us.”

He sought help of the business community of the city to contribute to the ‘Karachi Development Fund’ that is going to fund the infrastructure of the city. “Prime Minister has constituted a committee, comprising all the stakeholders including business community, which would advise him on the development projects,” he added.

On this occasion Irfan Siddiqui, CEO of Meezan Bank, sought government's attention for bringing Islamic Banking at par with the conventional banking by introducing Shariah based financial instruments.

Siddiqui also pointed out problems in the Islamic Banking in Sindh where according to him “Lending by Islamic banks was most difficult task” due to safety and return reasons.

“Bankers are reluctant to extend loans in the province,” he said, and added, “Punjab has made significant progress in the financial sector and Sindh needs to follow in Punjab's footsteps.” “When we go to Lahore and come back we feel that we are living in a different world,” he observed.

He informed that Islamic Banking was fast growing as ADRs of Islamic banks had gone up by 57 percent of the total banking industry and the total share of Islamic banks had increased to 13 percent. “More than 94 percent people are convinced that the Riba (interest) is haram (forbidden), which gives more room to the Islamic financing,” Siddiqui said, and added, “People are preferring Islamic banks for house financing.”

Mehmood Tareen, CEO of TPN, said that the purpose of organising Islamic Finance Expo was to promote Islamic Banking and products in the country by introducing Shariah based products at vibrant forum. “It is a platform where people gather to exchange their ideas about the Islamic financial industry in a rightful manner,” he noted. Ateeq ur Rehman, Former Chairman, Banking and Insurance Sub-Committee KCCI, said that 82 percent of SMEs were neglected and did not get financing from conventional banking sector.

“Islamic financing has been offered to them and they feel more comfortable to get finances,” he added.

GM Abbasi, Director Islamic Banking , State Bank of Pakistan, highlighted the role of his bank in the promotion and facilitation of Islamic Banking in the country.

Large number of practitioners, religious scholars, Shariah advisors and experts participated in the conference and shared their views in panel discussions held as part of the event.

Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry KCCI President Shamim Ahmed Firpo was the chief guest at the concluding session.