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Pakistan Forecasts Doubling Of Islamic Banking Industry

Vanessa Doctor

3 June 2010

Pakistan plans to expand its Islamic banking services over the next three years as the economy shows signs of recovery, a report by Reuters reveals.

In an interview with the news service, Salim Ullah, the director for Islamic banking at the State Bank of Pakistan, said that the industry is expected to grow from just 6 per cent of conventional banking to 12 per cent in two to three years. Ullah attributed this forecast to increasing investor awareness and appetite for Shariah-compliant products.

"Although the growth would be driven by domestic factors, the heightened global interest in Islamic finance, specifically after the recent financial crisis, will also contribute to the growth of Islamic banking in the country," Ullah reportedly said.

Pakistan, which opened up to Shariah banking in 2001, has a total of eight banks offering fully-fledged Islamic services, two of which had recently received preliminary approval to operate from the central bank. The expansion comes at an opportune time for the industry in Asia, which the Islamic Financial Services Board of Kuala Lumpur to predicts will quadruple to $2.8 billion by 2015, from around $700 million in 2005.