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 Islamic bond afoot to draw ME investors in



KARACHI:  Government of Pakistan is planning to attract more investors from the Middle Eastern and contiguous countries by giving its sukuk sales a mighty push.
Moreover it is also pondering upon the prospects of an extended Shariah-compliant banking industry. In this regard, within the quarter ending September this year, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is planning to trade a sukuk --to be matured in a year or less-- in the domestic market, spokesman Syed Wasimuddin said.
This endeavour is aimed  at doubling Islamic banking services in the next three years to 12 per cent of the total. According to analysts Islamic banks and Shariah-compliant mutual funds are juiceless in terms of investment opportunities.
 They further said that securities of less than one-year maturity and Islamic interbank lending will attract local and foreign investors.
Country is trying to attract the wealth of the oil-rich Persian Gulf to help finance its budget deficit and revive an economy hurt by nine years of fighting with the Taliban militants. Pakistan raised $600 million from its first sale of sukuk in the overseas market in January 2005. Acting central bank Governor Yaseen Anwar said in June more developed money markets would help create benchmarks for Islamic products. Pakistan's Islamic banking industry is a 30th of the size of Malaysia's, which has the world's biggest market for sukuk.-Agencies