Clerics in Pakistan declare fatwa against buying US dollars

Clerics in Pakistan declare fatwa against buying US dollars
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Clerics in Pakistan declared Monday hoarding U.S. dollars a "grave sin," the Financial Times reported.

“We have issued a fatwa [religious order] which says that people must not hoard dollars as hoarding creates chaos,” Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, the head of the Pakistan Ulema Council, a network of Sunni Muslim clerics, told Financial Times. “Unnecessary purchases of dollars must be avoided till such time as Pakistan comes out of the prevailing crisis that we face today."

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Muhammad Taqi Usmani, a prominent cleric with a nationwide following, tweeted that “purchasing dollars to hoard and earn profit by the increase in its price is a grave sin and disloyalty to the country in the present economic situation.”

There has reportedly been an increase in speculative buying of U.S. dollars as Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan struggles with a balance of payments crisis.

Buyers are worried that the Pakistani rupee could be further devalued following Islamabad’s announcement earlier this month that the country would go ahead with a $6 billion International Money Fund bailout.

Khan inherited a depleted reserve of foreign currency when he became prime minister last year.

His government has been criticized for taking too long to secure an IMF bailout to restore confidence, having first turned to potential donors such as China and Saudi Arabia, according to Financial Times.

The Pakistani rupee hit a record low of 153 rupees to each dollar last Monday.