A graduation ceremony for Meezan Justuju, Islamic Finance Talent Development Program

The graduation ceremony for the flagship Islamic Finance Talent development program – Meezan Justuju, was held today at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in Karachi. Chairman IBA CEIF (Centre of Excellence in Islamic Finance) and ex-Governor State Bank of Pakistan – Dr. Ishrat Hussain, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Founding President & CEO of Meezan Bank – Mr Irfan Siddiqui, Deputy CEO of Meezan Bank – Syed Amir Ali, Director IBA CEIF & Group Head Shariah Compliance, Meezan Bank – Mr Ahmed Ali Siddiqui were also present at the ceremony.

The Profit before Tax of the Islamic banking industry surpassed PKR 393.4 billion during the August to December quarter of 2023. With a network spanning over 5,000 branches, an asset base exceeding PKR 9 trillion and a deposit base of PKR 6.75 trillion, Islamic finance in Pakistan is not only outpacing conventional banking but also gaining significant global traction. This momentum is driven by its alignment with responsible investing and its appeal to both traditional Muslim markets and beyond.

This demand coupled with the approaching deadline mandated by the Federal Shariah Court for a full transition to an Islamic finance system by 2027, has heightened the need for Islamic finance training. The partnership between Meezan Bank and IBA represents a crucial step in addressing this shortage and facilitating the transformation of Pakistan’s economy into one that is interest-free and asset-based.

Dr. Ishrat Hussain, who played a pivotal role in establishing Islamic banking in Pakistan, extended his best wishes to the program participants and advised them to seize this valuable opportunity. He emphasized the importance of upskilling the youth and expressed appreciation for the collaboration that has facilitated skill-based learning and enhanced the employability of the participants. “There is a growing need for human resources in the Islamic finance industry, especially as the economic system is slated to undergo changes by 2027,” he stated.

Founding President and CEO of Meezan Bank, Mr. Irfan Siddiqui, stated, “The initiative of Meezan Justuju with IBA CEIF demonstrates Meezan Bank’s strong commitment to nurturing talent and promoting the growth of Islamic finance in Pakistan. By investing in the education and training of young professionals, Meezan, as an industry leader, aims to facilitate the Islamic Finance industry of Pakistan.”

Mr. Ahmed Ali Siddiqui, Director of IBA CEIF, remarked, “We are witnessing a remarkable 24% growth in the country’s Islamic banking industry, accompanied by a surge in demand for trained resources. With almost 5,000 Islamic banking branches now established, there is an average requirement of nearly 4,000 skilled Islamic bankers to meet industry demands. The Meezan Justuju program stands as a distinctive collaboration between industry and academia, forging a network of highly skilled Islamic bankers while empowering aspiring professionals to contribute to a responsible and equitable financial system.”

Syed Amir Ali, Deputy CEO of Meezan Bank, said, “As the fifth most populous country in the world, Pakistan has a significant opportunity to harness the potential of its youth. However, the country’s female workforce participation remains limited, standing at only 22%. I am delighted to witness the enthusiastic participation in Meezan Justuju, which presents an excellent opportunity for upskilling and contributing to the country’s GDP.”

He underscored the urgent necessity for fresh graduates to integrate into the economy, stating, “The skills and knowledge acquired through programs like Meezan Justuju will prove invaluable as the demand for Shariah-compliant financial solutions continues to rise. Every rupee earned will contribute to the GDP.”

The ceremony celebrated the achievements of the talented participants as they received their certificates. The event also provided a valuable opportunity for recruiters to select graduates for roles in the Islamic financial industry.

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