Editorial: The Riba¯ Case Pending for three Decades: The Federal Shar¯ı‘at Court, Pakistan may Fulfill its Constitutional Responsibility by Outlawing the Interest

Muhammad Ayub*
Published Online: June 2021
Abstract

While Islamic banking is being promoted by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) working parallel with theconventional banking since 2002, the Constitution of Pakistan requires that interest must be outlawed from The economy as early as possible [Article 38 (f)]. The legal trajectory of interest made its way to the Federal Shar¯ı‘at Court (FSC) after the 10-years moratorium on adjudicating fiscal and banking matters ended at the end of May 1990. The FSC and subsequently the Shar¯ı‘at Appellate Bench (SAB) of the Supreme Court of Pakistan delivered their landmark judgments in 1991 and 1999 respectively, but the state officials opted to hide behind some constitutional provisions, or the presumed view of some jurists /scholars to plead that the ‘interest" was not that rib¯a as prohibited by Qur’¯an. Although, the connotation of rib¯a has long been agreed at the level of Islamic ummah to include moderncommercial interest in rib¯a, and e_orts for evolving ‘interest-free’ banking and finance system are underway also including Pakistan, but there have been some hindrances in implementation of Islamic injunctions and the Shar¯ı‘at Courts’ judgments. The rib¯a case being reheard in the FSC since 2013, after it was remanded back by the SAB in 2001 is becoming gradually complicated. The debt trap for Pakistan’s economy is becoming increasingly painful requiring to transfer almost all resources for servicing the debt. However, little e_ort hasbeen made to transform the economy of Pakistan to risk and reward sharing and cooperative bases in the light of Islamic principles. During the hearing of the case in May this year the representatives of the state contended that "the non-justiciable policy decisions regarding implementable possibilities were beyond the jurisdiction ofthe Shar¯ı‘at Court."--------


Keywords

Rib¯a Case, Pending, three Decades, The Federal Shar¯ı‘at Court, Pakistan, Constitutional Responsibility, Interest