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Sharif helps Sharia banking to spread

Bank administrative staff at Meezan Bank's head office in Karachi.

KARACHI, Pakistan -- Islamic banking is growing fast in predominantly Muslim Pakistan, thanks to the growing popularity of its Sharia compliant structure and a helping hand from the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. 

     Islamic banking remains far behind conventional banking in terms of assets, accounting for just over a tenth of the national market. But most of Pakistan's conventional banks have now opened Sharia-compliant branches, and many are working on full conversion to Islamic banking, which is growing at an annual rate double that of the country's Western-style banking sector, according to the State Bank of Pakistan, the central bank.

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