ISLAMABAD, Oct 25: The amount collected by banks as Zakat deductions is declining because of the people’s distrust in the fund distribution mechanism.

“There is a need to develop transparency in the system especially at the local level,” Central Zakat Council chairman Justice M. Javed Butter said at a meeting here on Saturday.

Rejecting Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan’s requests to allow utilisation of the Zakat funds for 2007-08 beyond Sept 30, the council observed that local zakat councils should be directed to constitute committees within 10 days in accordance with the law, ensuring expeditious distribution of Zakat among deserving persons.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi also attended the meeting.

Justice Butter observed that people knew too little about the Zakat system and it was necessary to publicise the system through print and electronic media.

According to the adviser, banks’ credibility alone did not keep the people from paying Zakat through the government system. “They generally prefer to pay Zakat to their own deserving relatives”.The council approved enhancement of Zakat grant for six hospitals – The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Sukkur Blood Hospital, Shifa Trust Hospital in Larkana, Institute of Nuclear Medicines Radiotherapy in Larkana, People’s Medical College of Nawabshah and Sandeman Hospital in Quetta.

A committee was constituted to examine fresh requests for enlistment enhancement of the Zakat grant which included Nescom Hospital in Islamabad, Mohammad Trust Hospital of Faisalabad, Haji Sardar Khan Ranjha trust hospital Sargodha, Civil Hospital in Karachi, Al Mustafa Welfare Society in Gulshan-i-Iqbal in Karachi, Jinnah Teaching Hospital in Peshawar and Al Khidmat ul-Hajary Hospital in Quetta.

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