ISLAMABAD (APP) - Speakers at a seminar here on Tuesday urged the need for promoting Islamic banking in compliance with Islamic laws to accelerate the trade and business activities and for just distribution of wealth to bridge the gap between deprived and privileged class. The seminar titled Islamic Banking and Finance: Issues, challenges and way forward was organized by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in collaboration with Meezan Bank, Habib Bank and Islamic International University (IIU) with an aim to provide an opportunity to the participants to understand issues involved in the Islamic Banking. Speaking on the occasion, Saleem Ullah, Director Islamic Banking Department SBP, said that the biggest challenge the Islamic banking sector is facing is the lack of awareness about the this system. He said that people have many confusions and apprehensions in their mind. The need is to organize a series of such seminars and campaigns so that people should clear their mind about the apprehensions regarding the Islamic banking, he said, adding that the SBP is cooperating with other banks to promote Islamic banking in the country. He said that strategic plan for Islamic Banking developed by SBP envisages a 12 per cent share in the overall assets of banking industry by the year 2012. He said presently six full fledged Islamic banks and all five big banks in the country are providing Islamic banking services. Saleem said the total assets of the Islamic banking industry are over Rs. 411 billion (6.1 per cent of total banking industry) in June this year compared to Rs. 13 billion (0.5 per cent of the banking industry) in 2003. Total branch network stands at 697 branches with presence in over 84 cities and towns covering all the four provinces of the country, he added. Ahmad Ali Siddique, head product development department and Shariahh compliance Meezan Bank said that the basic tenets and principles of Islamic Banking are built upon the avoidance of Ribba, Gharar and prohibitation of impermissible businesses as stated in Quran.