Shariat court to hear Riba case by April

Bench seeks view of Centre, provinces on jurisdiction regarding Islamic banking-system


Our Correspondent February 20, 2019
Commuters walk past a bank sign along a road. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: A larger bench of the Federal Shariat Court, headed by Chief Justice Sheikh Najam-ul-Hassan, on Tuesday directed the federal and provincial governments to submit their viewpoints on jurisdiction of the court to hear pleas against Riba-based system.

Counsel for the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Salman Akram Raja gave arguments on the issue of jurisdiction of the court and said elimination of Riba is a constitutional matter.

He referred to the Articles 38-F, 81-C, 121(2), 161, 260 and 203-13(c) and 203-D of the Constitution. He also referred to the Supreme Court’s judgments that said the principle of policy is non-justifiable issue and purely relates to the state as defined in Article 7 of the Constitution, which excludes judiciary.

However, he said it did not mean that the state was unaware of the seriousness of the issue. The government constituted various Commissions for Islamisation of economy which presented reports to the government, he added.

The CJ, however, asked him if the government was actually serious to address the issue. “If you are serious in taking this case to its logical conclusion then let us know. Till now no one has extended cooperation,” he said.

The judge said the court had made a list of cases being adjudicated by the court. “We have to hear other pending cases as well. People are imprisoned and we have decided 150 murder cases. But by April, we will be free from the criminal cases and will be all set to hear the Riba case.”

Later, the court asked the federal and provincial governments to submit their stance on the Federal Shariat Court’s jurisdiction and adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period.

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