KARACHI: The National Bank of Pakistan (Burj) announced that it intends to conduct due diligence of Shariah-compliant Burj Bank Limited.

The bank’s Secretary (Board) S M.Ali Zamin stated that the bank would proceed subject to approval of the State Bank of Pakistan.

A senior banker said that the development comes after the earlier March plans of MCB Bank to acquire majority shareholding of 55 per cent in Burj Bank were dropped when MCB declared that it opted to set up its own wholly owned Islamic banking subsidiary.

The majority stake of 38pc in Burj Bank is held by Bahrain’s Bank Alkhair while 34pc shares are vested in Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank.

Meezan-HSBC merger: An announcement by Meezan Bank on Wednesday confirmed that the Competition Commission of Pakistan had issued formal ‘No Objection Certificate’ to the merger of Pakistan branches operations of HSBC Bank Middle East Limited with and into Meezan Bank Limited.

“We may, however, confirm that formal merger is subject to completion of other corporate formalities, including approval by SBP,” the bank said.

The merger plans were first unveiled in March this year when the Meezan had said that it was in discussions with HSBC Bank for possible acquisition.

Banking sources say that the growth in the Islamic banking sector is following the global trend where banks are jostling for position in a rapidly growing and lucrative Islamic banking market.

The current size of global Islamic banking market, by one estimate, ranges between $300 and $500 billion with a rapid annual growth of 20pc.

According to banking sources, Pakistani banks are also striving to quickly seize a slice of the cake.

“Five Islamic banks are currently functioning in Pakistan with another 20 offering Shariah-compliant products,” says the banker

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