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Islamic Banking in Pakistan Set to Get Major Boost    
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Source: The Economic Times

ISLAMABAD: Islamic banking in Pakistan is set to get a major boost with the sector expected to garner 12 percent of the financial market in the country by 2012, a news report has said.

Khalid Rafi, Chairman Islamic Capital Partners, said the Islamic banking in Pakistan would achieve 12 percent share of the overall financial sector in the country by 2012. He said it roughly translates into an additional growth of USD 15 billion in deposits over the next five years. "Today, we have six full Islamic banks operational in the country that have been established with support from leading financial institutions from the GCC (Gulf coordination committee).

This is also a justification for the tremendous investment opportunities and the growing interest of Sharia compliant foreign investors in Pakistan," Rafi said at an 'Islamic Capital Conference' yesterday.

He said Islamic banks have launched an aggressive outreach campaign and have added one hundred and forty branches in just 18 months. The total branch network stands close to 218, and is set to quadruple over next four years, he was quoted as saying by the Daily Times newspaper today.

Highlighting the challenges, Irfan siddiqui, President and CEO Meezan Bank Limited, said Islamic banks have to put in extra efforts to attract customers as declaring the products Islamic demands more innovation.

Foreign investors are showing increasing interest in Pakistans Islamic banking, with direct investments exceeding Rs 2,000 crore, a report had said last month. Direct investments in Pakistans Islamic banking industry, according to Ashar M Nazim, CEO of Islamic Capital Partners, has exceeded Rs 2,000 crore as of Sept 2007

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