Mufti Taqi Usmani calls for empowered task force to eliminate interest-based banking


KARACHI, NOV 30 (DNA) — Renowned scholar of Hadith, Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic finance, Mufti Taqi Usmani on Wednesday called for setting up an empowered task force under a specially created division of the finance ministry to implement recommendations on interest-free banking system in the country.

He said this while addressing a seminar on seeking recommendations to establish an interest-free banking system in Karachi on Wednesday. He urged the finance minister to take practical steps to abolish interest-based banking system in Pakistan, contending that every religious faction was in harmony with this.

He said that the government has thus far constituted eight committees to wean the national economy from a conventional, interest-based system to an Islamic system. The committees, he said, worked at different times from 1978 to 2008.

“These committees were only empowered to prepare recommendations,” he said, adding that “But there is a need to establish a fully empowered task force to enforce an interest-free banking system in the country.”

He further suggested that the government constitute a division in the finance ministry to oversee the implementation of the interest-free banking system and that the task force should work under this division.

These committees produced several reports, all of which were never implemented. These include the Council of Islamic Ideology report on the revision of Ribba from the economy in 1971.

Then there was the report on banks and financial institutions by the Commission for Islamization of Economy in 1992. Report by Commission of Transformation of Finance System in August 2001, report of the task force of Ministry of Law and Justice and Human Rights of 2002, report of the task force of the Ministry of Finance to propose measures to bring government borrowing in compliance with Sharia of June 2002.

The report of the Self-Reliance Commission by the Ministry of Planning in 1991 and the report of the Steering Committee for the Promotion of Islamic Banking in Pakistan of December 2015.

He said that from 1978 to 2018, different institutions conducted detailed research and prepared significant reports on the subject of Islamization of the economy. All of these committees included religious scholars and financial experts with a single-point agenda to eliminate the interest-based banking system.

However, he said that all of these commissions, committees and task forces were tasked with preparing a set of recommendations which were shelved. “There is no need to establish any commission that makes recommendations but to establish a powerful task force that is empowered to implement the recommendations.

He further said that Article 227 of the Constitution directs that no law can be imposed, which is against Sharia. Moreover, it was in light of Article 203 that the Federal Sharia Court was established, and a bench was established in the Supreme Court to allow for appeals to the Sharia court’s decision.

“There is a need to add religious scholars in Sharia benches in Supreme Court,” he said. Armed struggle to implement Sharia not allowed. While addressing the seminar, Mufti Usmani said that armed struggle to implement Shariah is impermissible.

He added that he wanted to end the usury system and has worked extensively on the subject. But for the effort to succeed, a unanimous voice must be raised to end the scourge of usury. He said that all concerned institutions must try to implement interest-free banking.

At a point, he added that the implementation of Shariah law is the most important thing under Islamic rule of law. Mufti Usmani emphasized Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to take practical steps to abolish interest-based banking system in Pakistan, adding that unified decisions of scholars have always led to good outcomes. =DNA