Pakistan’s federal minister for science & technology Fawad Chaudhry has set his eyes on introducing a mobile payment system in the country. A day after launching the Islamic calendar and moon-sighting website, Chaudhry said in a tweet that his next big challenge was to bring mobile payment system to the country.
Mobile payment system to make transactions faster, more convenient
The implementation of mobile payment services will allow anyone with a smartphone to send and receive payments quickly and securely. It could even replace debit and credit cards. Fawad Chaudhry said mobile transactions were “essential” for the growth of technology in Pakistan.
قمری کیلنڈر کے بعد اگلا بڑا چیلنج کریڈٹ کارڈ اور ڈیبٹ کارڈز کو موبائل فون پیمنٹ سے replace کرنا ہے، ٹیکنالوجی کی ترقی کیلئے ادائیگیوں (payments) کا آسان ہونا لازمی ہے، انشااللہٰ چند مہینوں میں آپ کی تمام ادائیگیاں بس کے کرائے سے گاڑی خریدنے تک موبائل سے ہوں گی۔
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— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) May 27, 2019
He assured citizens that in just a few months, they would be able to make all payments using their mobile phones. For the uninitiated, mobile payment is when you use a smartphone app to send and receive money. The apps store your bank account details so that you can pay for purchases using your phone. Merchants use QR codes to let customers scan the code on their phones and send payments effortlessly.
Mobile payments are considered faster, safer, and more convenient than credit or debit cards. They are immensely popular in countries like China, the US, and India. Popular Chinese app WeChat processed more than $12 trillion worth of mobile payments in 2018.
Pakistan has been trying to promote online transactions. Earlier this year, the country had urged American online payment giant PayPal to enter the Pakistani market. PayPal facilitates online money transfers around the world. However, the company declined to introduce its services in Pakistan, at least for now.
Earlier this month, Ministry of Information Technology Secretary Maroof Afzal told the Senate Standing Committee on IT that PayPal was “not ready to introduce services in Pakistan.” The Ministry has been persuading PayPal for quite a while to enter the Pakistani market. Senator Mian Mohammad Ateeq Shaikh argues that PayPal won’t come to Pakistan until it is assured that there are laws to protect its interest in the country. Any case of money laundering could get PayPal in trouble.
Fawad Chaudhry draws flak over Islamic Calendar, website
Fawad Chaudhry shared his ambitious vision for the mobile payment system a day after launching Pakistan’s first moon-sighting website and the five-year Hijri Calendar. According to the new Islamic Calendar, Eid-ul Fitr will fall on June 5th this year. The minister will present the five-year Islamic Calendar before the federal cabinet on Tuesday for approval.
MoonSighting Pakistan launched….. https://t.co/1HSEzw7cMf
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) May 26, 2019
Chaudhry has also sent the calendar to the Islamic Ideology Council. “I personally believe that there is no need to have Ruet-t-Hilal Committee in the country.” However, the launch of the moon-sighting website and the Islamic Calendar has drawn sharp criticism from the religious groups.
According to The News, chief of the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee of Qasim Ali Khan Mosque, Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai said he didn’t have any objections to the use of new technologies. However, he is of the opinion that the website and the calendar should not be used for observing Eid-ul-Fitr and Ramadan. Chaudhry has invited Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai to see for himself how it works.
Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai argues that Eid-ul-Fitr and Ramadan should be observed “after moon-sighting as per Sharia and Islamic injunctions.” The Islamic Calendar could be displayed in public places, homes, and government offices to let people know about the importance of Islamic months in daily life, reports The News.