Zakat is fourth important religious obligation in Islam. Its injunction has been described in the Holy Quran in more than hundred places. From the very beginning unti9l the era of Hazrat Umar Bin Abdul Aziz.
Zakat was collected and distributed under the state patronage. Besides Islamic Philosophy of economic equality (Adal), the modern economists consider Zakat as the chief source of maintaining economic health.
The Government of Pakistan introduced the system of Zakat for the first time in the country through an Ordinance, 1980. The objective behind the system of Zakat is to assist the needy, indigent and the poor preferably giving financial assistance to widows and orphans. As given in the laws, the system is channel zed through dual arrangements i.e. Government institutions and private voluntary Committees.
In the federal government, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Zaikat and Ushr is dealing with the affairs of Zakat, making both collection and releases to the provinces, while the Central Zakat Council is an independent body for framing rules, policies and allocating funds to the provinces on the basis of their population.