Sirajul Haq takes Maulana Fazl to task over interest-based system

Maulana Fazl

Islamabad: Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq has stated that the interest-based system and a prosperous Pakistan cannot coexist.

Speaking at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce, Haq said that Allah has blessed Pakistan with everything, and “if today we are facing economic turmoil and unemployment, it is due to our own incompetence.”

He stated that in 2008, every Pakistani had a debt of Rs500, but today the debt has risen to over R0.4 million, and our revenues are less than small countries like Nepal and Bhutan.

He mentioned that the main reasons for all the problems in Pakistan are mismanagement, corruption, and misuse of authority, with the Pakistan Iternational Airlines facing near financial death, causing billions in losses every month to the exchequer.

He said that in Pakistan, the interest rate is the highest in South Asia, and we are in a constant battle with interest. He said the interest-based system has been in place in the country for the last 73 years.

The JI chief said that the interest-based system and a prosperous Pakistan cannot go hand in hand.

“We spend Rs7.3 trillion on interest payments; in countries like Japan and Germany, interest rates are zero, while in Pakistan, it is 22 per cent. We will put an end to the interest-based system in the country.

Haq remarked that when Maulana Fazlur Rahman became head of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), “we had hoped that since Maulana was in charge, he would make efforts to do away with the interest-based system.

However, he said, when the PDM government came to power, instead of doing away with the interest-based system, Maulana Fazlur Rahman continued to enjoyed ministries, and within 16 months, his government increased interest rate from 17 per cent to 22 per cent.

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He stated that instead of the interest-based system, Pakistan needs to implement the systems of Zakat and Ushr. He said that 100 million people are living below the poverty line in Pakistan.

“With Zakat and Ushr systems, Rs25 trillion will be collected. I, as the finance minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, introduced an Islamic banking system, imposing restrictions on the interest-based system. Twenty-two thousand people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa left the interest-based system and participated in Islamic banking,” he said.

Haq said that there was a time when people considered a strong military and modern weapons as a country’s strength.

“Today, a country’s economic stability is considered its strength. The world’s wars today are economic wars, and one country wants to win by destroying the economy of another. We have to make our economy strong.”

He further said that one of our major issues faces Pakistan is the lack of honest leadership. Today, Indian Muslims take pride in being Indian because a Pakistani Muslim buys one kilogram of flour for Rs180.

Nawaz Sharif, Zardari, and the PTI strengthened the interest-based system. After coming to power, the JI’s first war will be against the interest-based system.

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