Speech on the occasion of the opening of the State Bank of Pakistan on 1st July, 1948
Mr. Governor, Directors of the State Bank, Ladies and Gentlemen
The opening of the State Bank of Pakistan symbolises the sovereignty of our State in the financial sphere and I am very glad to be here today to perform the opening ceremony. It was not considered feasible to start a bank of our own simultaneously with the coming into being of Pakistan in August last year. A good deal of preparatory work must precede the inauguration of an institution responsible for such technical and delicate work as note issue and banking. To allow for this preparation, it was provided, under the Pakistan Monetary System and Reserve Bank Order, 1947, that the Reserve Bank of India should continue to be the currency and banking authority in Pakistan till the 30th September, 1948. Later on it was felt that it would be in that best interest of our State if the Reserve Bank of India were relieved of its functions in Pakistan, as early as possible. The date of transfer of these functions to a Pakistan agency was consequently advanced by three months in agreement with the Government of India and the Reserve Bank. It was at the same time decided to establish Central Bank of Pakistan in preference to any other agency for managing our currency and banking. This decision left very little time for the small band of trained personnel in this field in Pakistan to complete the preliminaries and they have by their untiring effort and hard work completed their task by the due date which is very creditable to them, and I wish to record a note of our appreciation of their labours.
As you have observed, Mr. Governor, in undivided India banking was kept a close preserve of non-Muslims; and their migration from Western Pakistan has caused a good deal of dislocation in the economic life of our young State. In order that the wheels of commerce and industry should run smoothly, it is imperative that the vacuum caused by the exodus of non-Muslims should be filled without delay. I am glad to note that schemes for training Pakistan nationals in banking are in hand. I will watch their progress with interest and I am confident that the State Bank will receive the cooperation of all concerned including the banks and universities in pushing them forward. Banking will provide a new and wide field in which the genius of our young men can find full play. I am sure that they will come forward in large numbers to take advantage of the training facilities, which are proposed to be provided. While doing so, they will not only be benefiting themselves but also contributing to the well being of our State.
I need hardly dilate on the important role that the State Bank will have to play in regulating the economic life of our country. The monetary policy of the bank will have a direct bearing on our trade and commerce, both inside Pakistan as well as with the outside world and it is only to be desired that your policy should encourage maximum production and a free flow of trade. The monetary policy pursued during, the war years contributed, in no small measure, to our present-day economic problems. The abnormal rise in the cost of living has hit the poorer sections of society including those with fixed incomes very hard indeed and is responsible to a great extent for the prevailing unrest in the country. The policy of the Pakistan Government is to stabilise prices at a level that would be fair to the producer, as well as to the consumer I hope your efforts will be directed in the same direction in order to tackle this crucial problem with success.
I shall watch with keenness the work of your Research Organisation in evolving banking practices compatible with Islamic ideals of social and economic life. The economic system of the West has created almost insoluble problems for humanity and to many of us it appears that only a miracle can save it from disaster that is now facing the world. It has failed to do justice between man and man and to eradicate friction from the international field. On the contrary, it was largely responsible for the two world wars in the last half-century, The Western world, in spite of its advantages of mechanization and industrial efficiency is today in a worse mess than ever before in history. The adoption Western economic theory and practice will not help us in achieving our goal of creating a happy and contented people. We must work our destiny in our own way and present to the world an economic system based on true Islamic concept of equality of manhood and social justice. We will thereby be fulfilling our mission as Muslims and giving to humanity the message of peace which alone can save it and secure the welfare, happiness and prosperity of mankind.
May the State Bank of Pakistan prosper and fulfil the high ideals, which have been set as its goal.
In the end I thank you, Mr. Governor, for the warm welcome given to me by you and your colleagues and the distinguished guests who have graced this occasion as a mark of their good wishes and the honour you have done me in inviting me to perform this historic opening ceremony of the State Bank which I feel will develop into one of our greatest national institutions and play its part fully throughout the world.