On Monday, Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti announced that the government had officially blacklisted 111 online applications providing interest-based loans. This statement was made in conclusion to a discussion initiated by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, addressing the proliferation of such apps in the country.
Minister Bugti highlighted that the Cyber Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had taken action by confiscating Rs 1.8 billion related to interest-based transactions.
The FIA has initiated legal proceedings against individuals operating these mobile apps, and their cases are currently awaiting resolution in the courts, stated the Minister. He emphasized that swift actions were taken by the government as soon as the matter surfaced, particularly targeting apps that were not registered with the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) of Pakistan.
Despite these efforts, the Minister acknowledged the limited capacity of the FIA in handling cyber-crimes, citing both capacity constraints and legal complexities as contributing factors.
Senator Mushtaq highlighted that numerous students and educated individuals have fallen victim to the snares of apps providing online interest-based loans. Initially, these apps enticed students and unemployed individuals with loans featuring nominal interest rates, only to subject them to exorbitant interest charges later on.
A concerning trend involves the proliferation of “easy loan” applications on platforms like Google Play store and Apple’s App Store, introduced by many scammers. Despite the apparent ease and convenience of these loans, as they bypass extensive paperwork, these applications have become a menace affecting countless individuals.