Pakistan Blacklists Over 100 Digital Loan Apps

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Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti announced on Monday that the Pakistani government has officially blacklisted 111 such applications. The announcement came following a discussion initiated by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, who addressed the growing concern about these apps’ creation in the country.

Minister Bugti underscored the proactive measures taken by the Cyber Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), revealing that Rs 1.8 billion related to interest-based transactions had been confiscated as part of the government’s crackdown.

Legal proceedings have been initiated against individuals operating these mobile apps, and their cases are currently awaiting resolution in the courts, the Minister added.

He emphasized that the government had swiftly acted, particularly targeting apps that were not registered with the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) of Pakistan.

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Despite these efforts, Minister Bugti acknowledged the limited capacity of the FIA in handling cyber-crimes, citing both capacity constraints and legal complexities as contributing factors.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmed shed light on the alarming trend where students and educated individuals have fallen victim to the allure of apps offering online interest-based loans.

These apps initially attract users with nominal interest rates, only to subject them to exorbitant charges later on.

The concern further extends to the proliferation of “easy loan” applications on popular platforms like Google Play store and Apple’s App Store, introduced by scammers. Despite the apparent convenience of these loans, as they bypass extensive paperwork, these applications have become a risk affecting countless individuals.

This decisive government action signals a commitment to protecting citizens from unscrupulous lending practices and underscores the need for enhanced regulatory measures in the digital lending space.

As the legal proceedings unfold, it remains to be seen how this crackdown will shape the landscape of online lending in Pakistan, and what additional measures will be taken to protect individuals from falling prey to fraudulent financial schemes.

Ammara Ahmed

Ammara Ahmed

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