In Pakistan you can sell anything in the name of religion and patriotism. Take the example of the interest-free Islamic banking system; have you ever seen banks showing loss on Sharia-compliant deposits? In fact banks offer competitive returns on such deposits; which means, whether we accept or not, both the interest-paying and interest-free banking systems work on same principles. As things moved out of the established banking system, a new religious system filled the vacuum. NAB has been investigating a number of Modaraba and Musharika related fraud cases wherein so-called Islamic scholars and their agents and sub-agents presented unbelievable profiting schemes in mosques and madrassas, fooling-a-mass while offering 5 to 10 percent returns on monthly basis. The public was cheated in the tune of hundreds of billions of rupees while Muftis and their agents made their way to exotic foreign lands such as Thai and Malaysian beaches.

I am concerned about another Sharia-compliant Assets Allocation Funds offer that was advertised in leading newspapers the other day, wherein 10 lacs will grow to 30 lacs in just 5.2 years. Compare this unbelievable offer with commercial banks term deposit returns -- in commercial banks, a term deposit of 10 lacs will grow to 13 to 14 lacs in 5 years. The offered funds are looked after by a Sharia supervisory board, again consisting of scholars and Muftis. Okay, Pakistanis, go ahead, do another investment in the name of religion, and keep NAB and FIA busy in the coming days.

MASOOD KHAN,

Saudi Arab, September 23.