karachi - State Bank of Pakistan Acting Governor Ashraf Mahmood Wathra has said the future outlook of Islamic banking highly positive with bright prospects of achieving a market share of 20 percent by 2020.

Speaking at the third ‘Islamic Finance Expo and Conference 2014, he said SBP has recently developed a five years Strategic Plan (2014-18) for Islamic banking industry in Pakistan which provides a consensus agenda and strategy to take the industry to next level of growth and development. He said Islamic banking and finance is increasingly gaining importance at the global front. The existing global Islamic finance landscape is no longer restricted to Islamic countries as the basic tenants of Islamic finance such as ethics, morality and investment in real economy are appealing to non-Muslims as well.

He said Pakistan being among the pioneers of Islamic banking has also witnessed fast pace development of Islamic finance industry. It has grown at an impressive rate of over 30 percent annually over the last five years and its share in the country’s banking system has risen to over 10 percent with a network of more than 1300 branches in 87 districts across the country. 

The recent measures will assist Islamic banks to finance commercially and economically viable projects, besides enabling them to serve the hitherto underserved but strategically important sectors like agriculture and SMEs, he added. Islamic financial institutions are spread all across the globe, providing a wide range of services including commercial and investment banking, Takaful, mutual funds and capital markets to meet funding and investment needs of different sectors of the economy.

Speaking at the occasion Mufti Rafi Usmani said it has achieved the milestone of interest-free banking, which is admirable. He claimed that, local Islamic banking sector has groomed enough itself to replace the entire conventional banking. He urged the government to transform the banking mode on governmental level through legislation.  Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, chairman Standing Committee on Banking, FPCCI also addressed the conference and stressed the need to include and focus insurance and agriculture sectors in the Islamic finance sector.

Publicity Channel CEO Naeem Qureshi presented the welcome address. In his address, he stressed the need to take on-board all stakeholders for promotion and creating awareness of the Islamic Finance.