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MCQ: Nationalization of Banks in Pakistan

During the 60s and 70s, the banking sector of Pakistan, though flourishing, was marred by various structural issues; the primary one being the ownership structure. These structural issues led to an inequitable sectoral and geographical distribution of credit in the economy and a resultant increase in concentration of credit.

In this backdrop, State Bank embarked upon a comprehensive agenda of Banking Reforms in 1972. The reforms aimed at improving the soundness and efficiency of the banking system and purging it of negative consequences. To cater to discrepancies related to credit allocation, bodies such as Agricultural Credit Advisory Committee and National Credit Consultative Council were created in 1972 and 1973 respectively, under the aegis of State Bank to devise an integrated credit plan for all sectors of the economy and setting targets for commercial banks for credit disbursement to these sectors.

Nationalization of Banks

However, the above reforms could not achieve their desired goals as they were not given enough time to materialize.They were soon followed by the nationalization of the banking system in 1974. With the promulgation of the Banks Nationalization Act of 1974, the Federal Government assumed exclusive rights of ownership, management, and control of all banks. A total of 14 banks that existed at that time were nationalized under the act.

When did the nationalization of banks take place in Pakistan?
A. 1947
B. 1952
C. 1960s-1970s
D. 1990s
Answer: C (1960s-1970s)

How many banks were nationalized under the Banks Nationalization Act of 1974?
A. 5
B. 10
C. 14
D. 20
Answer: C (14)

What did the Banks Nationalization Act of 1974 do?
A. Established the State Bank of Pakistan
B. Privatized nationalized banks
C. Gave the government control over the banking system
D. None of the above
Answer: C (Gave the government control over the banking system)


In 1974, the government of Pakistan passed the Banks Nationalization Act, which gave it exclusive ownership, management, and control over all banks in the country. This act led to the nationalization of 14 banks that existed at that time. The government’s aim was to provide greater access to banking services and to increase its control over the economy.

Before the nationalization of banks, several banks had already been nationalized, including the Reserve Bank of India’s branches in Pakistan, the Bank of Bahawalpur, and the Premier Bank of Pakistan. However, the Banks Nationalization Act of 1974 was a significant step towards greater government control over the banking industry.

Today, the banking industry in Pakistan is a mix of both public and private sector banks, with the State Bank of Pakistan continuing to regulate and supervise the industry. The nationalization of banks in Pakistan has had a significant impact on the country’s economy and has helped to shape the banking industry as it exists today.

A Brief History of Banking in Pakistan

Banking in Pakistan has a long and varied history, dating back to the early 19th century when the British established the first banks in the region. Over the years, the banking industry in Pakistan has evolved significantly, with new banks being established, mergers and acquisitions taking place, and government policies impacting the industry’s growth and development.

The first bank in Pakistan was the Comptoir d’Escompte de Paris, which was established in 1836 during the British colonial era. This was followed by several other British banks, including the National Bank of India and the Imperial Bank of India, which established branches in Pakistan during the early 20th century.

After Pakistan gained independence in 1947, the government nationalized several banks, including the Reserve Bank of India’s branches in Pakistan, the Bank of Bahawalpur, and the Premier Bank of Pakistan. In 1952, the State Bank of Pakistan was established as the central bank of the country, responsible for regulating and supervising the banking industry.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the government of Pakistan nationalized several more banks, including the United Bank Limited, the Muslim Commercial Bank, and the Habib Bank Limited. These nationalizations were intended to provide greater access to banking services to the population and to increase the government’s control over the economy.

In the 1990s, the government of Pakistan began a process of privatization, selling off many of the nationalized banks to private investors. This led to a significant increase in competition within the industry and a more diverse range of banking services being offered to customers.

Today, the banking industry in Pakistan is a thriving and dynamic sector, with a wide range of banks and financial institutions offering a variety of products and services to customers. The State Bank of Pakistan continues to regulate and supervise the industry, ensuring that banks operate in a safe and sound manner and that customers are protected.

In conclusion, while I cannot provide you with an exact date for when banks were nationalized in Pakistan, the history of banking in the country has been shaped by a variety of factors, including government policies, colonial influences, and changing market conditions. Today, the banking industry in Pakistan is a vital part of the country’s economy, providing essential financial services to individuals and businesses alike.