Govt Blocks Over 100 Loan-Shark Apps

Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti tells the Senate that FIA has recovered around RS1.8 billion in interest collected by these services

Govt Blocks Over 100 Loan-Shark Apps

The federal government has moved to block over 100 apps that gave short-term loans at very high-interest rates and were not registered with the central bank or the Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

This was disclosed by Caretaker Federal Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti to the Senate the other day.

Bugti said that the government had blacklisted around 111 social media apps which were offering interest-based loans online. 

Moreover, he said that the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) Cyber Wing had confiscated around Rs1.8 billion in interest collected by these apps.

Bugti added that the FIA had also registered cases against those operating these apps, and the cases were pending before the relevant courts. 

He went on to make a disturbing admission, noting that FIA had limited capacity to tackle cyber-crimes, adding there were also some issues which had to do with the country's existing laws. 

The disclosure came in response to a motion moved by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed over the mushrooming of loan-shark apps.

Ahmed said these apps had trapped many students and working-class people.

The apps promised instant loans to students and the unemployed but misled them over the terms and later forced these people to pay hefty interest on the loans.

The matter came to light earlier this year when some people committed suicide after being harassed by the loan sharks, prompting the FIA to launch a crackdown.