To boost the system one must need a holistic approach
Govt can create a system of rules and clarity for Islamic Finance in Pakistan
Interview with Mr Hamad Rasool Bhullar, analyst
PAGE: Tell me something about yourself, please:
Hamad Rasool Bhullar: I am an accountant and researcher by profession involved in freelance consultancy in Business and Financial Advisory with special reference to ethical and Islamic Finance, for over 20 years. Having experience with both public and private sectors, in addition to being a passionate trainer on management and motivation to change the lives of the youth. I have a strong belief that we can shape our community into very efficient and productive one just through the right mix of training and motivation, while preserving the natural ethics and morality in our society. I have so far trained over 8,000 finance professionals in banking, business and public sectors. My qualifications and experience have mainly been a mix of Accountancy, Law, IT and Economics and Finance.
PAGE: What are your views on the Islamic finance in Pakistan?
Hamad Rasool Bhullar: I have a strong faith that the growth in the overall economy will be boosted in real terms through the Islamic system of finance in Pakistan, but we have to opt for the holistic approach in it. In Pakistan we have a general practice of choosing the pieces instead, which is becoming dangerous for the business as well as the economy. As we have a belief that Islam gives a complete code of life, but we remain unable to explore this code in our social behaviors. The contradictions in our society are the major hurdle in development of the society, as we make progress in one area, we mislay the other one due to this behavior. We have to accept that the rules we preach, apply first upon ourselves to stand as example, then only we can see others following those rules. In that we have great opportunity to work upon, in raising the communities through our CSR programs out of the funds earned. We need to develop Islamic trust funds now instead of straight charities.
PAGE: How could Islamic finance benefit the economy of Pakistan?
Hamad Rasool Bhullar: You have raised a very good point, as Islamic financial system is based on the real business transactions and not merely on the lending and borrowing of money, it can bring revolution not only towards the economic development of Pakistan but the whole world. It carries transparency, can eliminate the other evils of the financial malpractices, usually adopted in the conventional system of finance which led to a major global crisis in 2007-08, acknowledged by the western economists.
We are living in a world where we have faced huge financial scams, every other day around the globe, in the hands of Financial Derivative, and Financial Engineering leading the world economies to nowhere. The net gain always remained in minus with the exception of a few. Islamic finance is not so new to the world but when it is adopted as a formal system, it requires to be adopted in its true spirit, then only we can benefit from it.
PAGE: How could the financial institutions play a vital role for Islamic finance?
Hamad Rasool Bhullar: It is their main business but they have to learn the new styles of business, instead of going only in financial analysis they have to work on the real terms of business and norms of the business. I always ask them to leave their comfortable offices and join the actual business, for their own and collective success of the economy. For this purpose, they have to modify their fundamentals and treat themselves as business partners and traders instead of feeling as bankers in the traditional mindset.
PAGE: What must the government do to promote Islamic finance in the country?
Hamad Rasool Bhullar: Government cannot teach the system, but facilitate through the systems and laws, creating an environment. Although when we see a trader who does not want to keep a proper records of his transactions, and not willing to pay the taxes to the government, how can he expect the government to create a conducive environment for a free trade and industry?
Government is not the business, but need to create transparency in the systems, not by threatening nut by coordinating. As we see some reports that the European countries are having much higher standards on the basic principles of Islam as compared to most of the Muslim countries, especially in business and trade. We have to admit that London has become a larger business hub for Islamic Finance than Karachi or Islamabad, it is due to their system of enforcing the rules and clarity towards the acceptance of obligations over rights.