This issue of ISFIRE marks the end of two years of its successful publication. Our readers will notice that this issue contains a lot more text than the previous issues. This is consistent with our initial vision to make ISFIRE as a thought leader in Islamic banking and finance. Our previous issues have regularly included a one-pager Pause for Thought to highlight an issue of paramount importance for Islamic banking and finance. Previous topics included: Islamic foundations as a new model for Islamic financial intermediation (November 2011), indexation of loans (February 2012), the effect of morality and technology on prices (May 2012), an Islamic economic perspective on limits to growth of business (August 2012), prudential guidelines for tawarruq (November 2012), the issue of gold dinar (February 2013), and difference between Islamic banking and banking for Muslims (May 2013). Pause for Thought for this issue is Diaspora bonds and sukuk, to suggest that countries like Pakistan may combine the two concepts to issue a Diaspora sukuk to finance its development needs and to support its balance of payments. A main objective of Pause for Thought is to encourage out of the box thinking for further development of Islamic banking and finance as a viable alternative to conventional ways of conducting financial business. Our intention has never been to criticise practice of Islamic banking but, on the contrary, to challenge product structuring personnel and financial engineers to develop Islamic financial products that must differentiate Islamic banking and finance from other models of banking and finance. Unintended, but the current issue has turned into a Pakistan Supplement, with a cover story featuring Dr Tariq Cheema, a Pakistan-born American citizen, who founded World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists and is now busy in preparing for the next Global Donors Forum to be held at Washington D.C. on April 13-14, 2014. Our Personality interview features another Pakistani, Azhar Aslam, who heads Islamic banking operations of Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan Limited. Waheed Qaiser is another Pakistani connection. Imran Hussain Minhas, a Joint Director at Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), analyses mudaraba sector in Pakistan. Professor Asad Zaman, Director General of International Institute of Islamic Economics at International Islamic University Islamabad, critically evaluates the current crisis in economics and discusses the future course of action the advocates of Islamic economics should take to develop it as an alternative to the capitalist economic theory. Our regular contributors, Rizwan Rahman and Rizwan Malik, have this time chosen two interesting topics, crowd funding and payday lending. Yousuf Azim Siddiqi provides a juristic analysis of price regulation. There is also one article on morality in economic behaviour.
Please enjoy reading this issue and provide us with your feedback to improve ISFIRE further in our forthcoming issues.