Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. Its institution has been envisioned in the Holy Quran and Sunnah, and as such, it dates back to the eras of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the pious Caliph Hazrat Abu Bakar (RA). In Pakistan, its institution is envisaged in the Article 31 (C) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan (1973) which provides that State shall endeavor to secure the proper organization of Zakat and Ush. In pursuance of this provision, Zakat and Ushr Ordinance 1980 was promulgated, as a result of which Zakat and Ushr Department came into existence in 1980. The Department remained on the Concurrent List until 2010 when it was devolved under the 18th Amendment. Zakat and Ushr is now a provincial subject.
Zakat is compulsorily levied on 11 assets as detailed in the 1st Schedule of Zakat and Ushr Ordinance. Banks, companies and other financial institutions operating these assets deduct Zakat at source. The amount of Zakat so deducted is credited into Central Zakat Fund with State Bank of Pakistan. Disbursement of Zakat takes place by transfer of funds from Central Zakat Fund to the Provincial Zakat Fund which in turn transfers it to District Zakat Committees of all the districts on population basis. Actual disbursement of Zakat is made at Local level by Local Zakat Committee of a village or Mohalla(street), and other institutions such as Deeni Madaris, Government Educational Institutions, and Vocational Training Institutes.
Zakat fund is meant for the poor and deserving Muslims living below poverty line. Punjab Zakat Department is currently running various programs for the poor which include Guzara Allowance for the chronic poor, marriage grant for unamarried poor women, free treatment for the needy patients, and educational stipends for the students of Deeni Madaris and Government Institutes. It arranges, through PVTC, free technical and vocational training of poor and needy youth in order to enhance thier chances of independent livelihoods. The department has earmarked Rs. 3.08 billion for these intervensions for FY 2014-15. People at zakat department are endeavoring to make the entity a more dynamic organization a centre stage of all the state run intervensions aimed at poverty reduction in the province.
Zakat and Ushr Department aims to help Governemnt of the Punjab reduce extreme poverty in line with the injunctions of Islam. The Department contributes towards poverty reduction through investing in the poor for both their subsistence and rehabilitation.
Punjab Zakat & Ushr Department performs follwing core functions:
- Planning and Policy formulation for better working of zakat system in Punjab
- Preparation of annual Zakat budget
- Disbursement of zakat fund
- Maintenance of accounts
- Arrangements for audit
- Process cases for exemption from deduction of Zakat at source and issuance of exemption certificates
- Dealing all administrative matters of staff
- Constitution of Provincial Zakat Council, District Zakat Committees and Local Zakat Committees
- Enlistment of Deeni Madaris and Vocational Training Institutes for Zakat grants