Middle East and Central Asia > Pakistan

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Ms. Senay Agca, Ms. Deniz O Igan, Fuhong Li, and Ms. Prachi Mishra
Why do firms lobby? This paper exploits the unanticipated sequestration of federal budget accounts in March 2013 that reduced the availability of government funds disbursed through procurement contracts to shed light on this question. Following this event, firms with little or no prior exposure to the federal accounts that experienced cuts reduced their lobbying spending. In contrast, firms with a high degree of exposure to the cuts maintained and even increased their lobbying spending. This suggests that, when the same number of contractors competed for a piece of a reduced pie, the more affected firms likely intensified their lobbying efforts to distinguish themselves from the others and improve their chances of procuring a larger share of the smaller overall. These findings are stronger in government-dependent sectors and when there is intense competition. The evidence is more consistent with a rent-seeking explanation for lobbying.
Moazzam Farooq and Sajjad Zaheer
Rapid growth of Islamic banking in developing countries is accompanied with claims about its relative resilience to financial crises as compared to conventional banking. However, little empirical evidence is available to support such claims. Using data from Pakistan, where Islamic and conventional banks co-exist, we compare these banks during a financial panic. Our results show that Islamic bank branches are less prone to deposit withdrawals during financial panics, both unconditionally and after controlling for bank characteristics. The Islamic branches of banks that have both Islamic and conventional operations tend to attract (rather than lose) deposits during panics, which suggests a role for religious branding. We also find that Islamic bank branches grant more loans during financial panics and that their lending decisions are less sensitive to changes in deposits. Our findings suggest that greater financial inclusion of faith-based groups may enhance the stability of the banking system.
Aledjandro Lopez Mejia, Suliman Aljabrin, Rachid Awad, Mr. Mohamed Norat, and Mr. In W Song
This paper aims at developing a better understanding of Islamic banking (IB) and providing policy recommendations to enhance the supervision of Islamic banks (IBs). It points out and discusses similarities and differences of IBs with conventional banks (CBs) and reviews whether the IBs are more stable than CBs. Given the risks faced by IBs, the paper concludes that they need a legal, corporate and regulatory framework as much as CB does. The paper also argues that it is important to ensure operational independence of the supervisory agency, which has to be supported by adequate resources, a sound legal framework, a well designed governance structure, and robust accountability practices.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.


The global economic crisis has taken a toll on the Middle East and Central Asia region, but appropriate policy responses have helped mitigate the impact. Looking ahead, the region's oil exporters are expected to benefit from rising oil prices as the world economy begins to pull out of an unparalleled post-World War II recession. Oil importers, however, are likely to continue to face continued headwinds that may delay an uptake in growth. Where feasible, countries should continue to support domestic demand to lessen the impact of the crisis on the poor while maintaining a focus on debt sustainability. For the region's low-income countries, higher donor support will be needed to maintain economic development. Across the region, governments should further strengthen financial systems and be careful not to lose momentum on structural reforms. Published biannually in May and October.

Mr. Abbas Mirakhor and Mr. Mohsin S. Khan
Islamic banks are prohibited from charging or paying interest, and thus can operate only on the basis of profit-sharing arrangements. This paper provides a brief survey of the theory and practice of Islamic banking. It covers developments in Islamic banking since the mid-1970s, how such banks operate, and the analytical underpinnings of a financial system based on Islamic principles. Finally, the future of Islamic banking is assessed.
International Monetary Fund
In an Islamic system, as interest is prohibited, banks are expected to operate solely on the basis of profit and risk sharing. This paper describes the developments in Islamic banking in Iran and Pakistan. As these two countries have initiated the most far-reaching experiments with Islamic banking, their experiences have a significant bearing on the feasibility of such a system. The developments in these countries are evaluated against the theory underlying the Islamic banking, and suggestions are made to achieve a more efficient system.
Mr. Abbas Mirakhor and Mr. Zubair Iqbal


This study was prepared by Zubair Iqbal of the Middle Eastern Department and Abbas Mirakhor of the Research Department. To collect information and views for the study, the authors held discussions with the authorities and representatives of commercial banks in the Islamic Republic of Iran and in Pakistan.