Gilgit—Meezan Bank has recently opened its branch in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan, making it the first Islamic banking branch in the region.
Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman, the Chief Minister of Gilgit Baltistan inaugurated the branch and welcomed the launch of Islamic banking in the province. Meezan Bank’s senior management including Ariful Islam-Deputy CEO, Ijaz Farooq – Group Head, Branch Banking, SME & Commercial and Muhammad Saleem Khan – General Manager, North attended the event along with their teams.
Commenting on the occasion, Hafeez-ur-Rehman said, “The presence of an interest-based system in the country is against the principles of Shariah and the Government shall take significant measures to ensure maximum support to Meezan Bank for promotion of Islamic Banking in the country and implementation of a Shariah-based financial system.
The Government has shown keen interest in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of Gilgit. Meezan Bank’s entry into the region is likely to boost private financing for SMEs on a large scale. Rehman further stated that the Government has recently launched an SME friendly loan plan that shall be providing Riba-free loans to those start-ups that don’t typically qualify for traditional loans. SMEs and start-ups will be able to apply for loans of up to Rs80,000 and the scheme is expected to reduce poverty and unemployment in the region.”
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Ariful Islam said, “Meezan Bank is delighted to be opening its first-ever branch in Gilgit Baltistan. This marks a new era of Islamic banking in the region and shall facilitate the Bank in further broadening its Shariah-compliant product offering and branch network in Pakistan.” The Chief Minister also reinforced that the establishment of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) shall help boost the economy of Gilgit province.