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Federal Shariat Court gives govt 5 years to implement Islamic, interest-free banking system

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  • Federal Shariat Court says economic system of an Islamic country like Pakistan should be interest-free.
  • Court directs govt to immediately remove word interest from all banking and other laws.
  • Says transactions with international institutions, including IMF and World Bank, should be made interest free.

The Federal Shariat Court on Thursday gave the government five years to implement an Islamic and interest-free banking system in the country, as the economic system of an Islamic country like Pakistan should be free of interest.

Justice Dr Syed Muhammad Anwer read out the verdict that was reserved by a three-member bench of the Federal Shariat Court. The court had reserved its verdict on April 12 after hearing all the parties and the attorney general.

The verdict stated that abolition of riba is fundamental for an Islamic system, adding that any transaction involving riba is “wrong”.

“The abolition of riba and its prevention is in accordance with Islam. The interest taken in any case, including debt, falls into riba. Riba is completely forbidden in Islam,” said the Federal Shariat Court.

The Shariat court’s verdict also stated that interest given on external and internal loans by the government also falls under riba.

“The government should ensure that internal, external loans and transactions should be made interest-free. Transactions with international institutions, including the IMF and World Bank, should be made interest free as well,” said the court.

The court stated that Islamic banking and a banking system free of interest are two different things.

“Pakistan already has an interest-free banking system in some places [but] riba should end in Pakistan. The economic system of an Islamic country like Pakistan should be interest-free,” said the verdict.

The verdict stated that China, as per Islamic Shariat, is heading towards an interest-free banking system. It also directed the government to immediately remove the word interest from all banking and other laws.

The verdict also stated that the attorney general had informed them that it would take time to get rid of the interest-based system in the country.

The Supreme Court’s Shariat Applet Bench in 2001 had ordered the implementation of the order to abolish the interest system.

The court, giving the government five years to implement an interest-free banking system in the country, ordered that such a system should be implemented in the country by December 31, 2027.

The court stated that had Article 38-F been implemented years ago then the riba would have ended. It added that the State Bank of Pakistan, in its report, had stated that 20% of banking had shifted to the Islamic system. It added that five years is enough time to ensure the implementation of an Islamic and interest-free banking system in the country.

“The government is expected to present an annual report on the interest-free system in Parliament,” said the verdict. The court also declared the Interest Act 1839 and all laws and provisions facilitating interest as unlawful.

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Tourism boom: During Eidul Azha, more than 400,000 people travel to KP

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Over 400,000 people travelled to several beautiful locations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa between June 17 and June 19, celebrating the recently ended Eidul Azha festivities.

With over 174,000 visitors in one day, Naran Kaghan emerged as the most popular location. Visitors looking for a getaway from the city are still drawn to Naran Kaghan’s calm scenery and charming valleys.

A total of 162,000 visitors to Galiyat took in the city’s rich history at its cultural institutions and historical landmarks. In addition, more than 46,000 people visited Malam Jabba in Swat, and 23,000 people visited Upper Dir to take in its stunning surroundings.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is becoming a popular domestic vacation destination due to its unique combination of natural beauty, cultural legacy, and adventure options, as seen by the rise in visitor numbers.

Businesses and local government agencies have been collaborating to make sure tourists have an unforgettable time while appropriately handling the inflow.

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Pakistan currently has $14.41 billion in foreign exchange reserves.

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In a statement, the central bank stated that as of June 14, 2024, Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) stood at $9.135 billion, following the increase.

The announcement also stated, “SBP reserves increased by US$ 31 million to US$ 9,134.7 million during the week ended on June 14, 2024.”

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) stated that the nation had $14.415 billion in total liquid foreign reserves. Commercial banks own $5.28 billion of the total in net foreign reserves.

It was announced earlier on June 13 that Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves reached US$14.38 billion, up US$168 million in the first week of June.

Pakistan’s reserves held by commercial banks rose by US$174 million to $5.28 billion for the week that ended on June 7, according to a statement released by the central bank.

The SBP now has US$9.10 billion in reserves, down US$6.2 million from before. The central bank did not provide an explanation for why its reserves fell.

“SBP reserves decreased by US$ 6 million to US$ 9,103.3 million during the week ended on July 7, 2024,” the SBP said in a statement.

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In a first for history, PSX crosses the 77,000 milestone.

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At 77,213.31, the benchmark KSE-100 hit an all-time high, up 1,005.15, or 1.32%, from the previous close of 76,208.16.

The government’s readiness to seal an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following the budget was cited by analysts as the reason for the upward trend.

Experts anticipate that in an attempt to bolster its position for a fresh bailout agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the budget for the fiscal year ending in June 2025 would set aggressive fiscal goals.

Budget for Pakistan, 2024–2025
Pakistan’s budget for the fiscal year 2024–25, with a total expenditure of Rs18.877 trillion, was presented on Wednesday by Minister of Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb.

The Finance Minister, Muhammad Aurangzeb, outlined the budget highlights. He stated that the GDP growth target for the fiscal year 2024–25 is set at 3.6 percent, while the inflation rate is anticipated to stay at 12 percent.

He stated that while the primary surplus is anticipated to be 1.0 percent of GDP during the review period, the budget deficit to GDP is forecast to be 6.9 percent over the period under review.

According to the minister, tax income collection increased by 38% in the current fiscal year, and the province will receive Rs7,438 billion. The Federal Board of income expects to earn Rs12,970 billion in revenue for the upcoming fiscal year.

In contrast to the federal government’s projected net income of Rs9,119 billion, he stated that the federation’s non-tax revenue projections are set at Rs3,587 billion.

The federal government’s total outlays are projected to be Rs18,877 billion, with interest payments accounting for the remaining Rs9,775 billion.

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