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Pakistan ‘blacklists’ more than 100 apps offering loans

A man points a finger to the Google Play app logo on his Huawei smartphone in this illustration picture May 20, 2019. — Reuters
  • FIA has confiscated Rs1.8 billion amount of interest, says minister.
  • He says cases registered against those running such mobile apps.
  • FIA’s capacity regarding cyber-crimes very limited, he adds.

Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said Monday that the government had blacklisted 111 online apps offering online interest-based loans.

The minister’s statement came as he winded up a discussion on a motion moved by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed about the mushrooming of the apps offering online interest-based loans in the country.

The interim security czar said the Cyber Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had also confiscated Rs 1.8 billion amount of interest.

The FIA has also registered cases against those who were running such mobile apps, he said, noting that their cases were pending before courts of law.

He said that soon after the emergence of the issue, the government had started actions against the apps that were not registered with the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

However, he said FIA’s capacity regarding cyber-crimes was very limited, adding there were also some law-related issues.

Earlier, Senator Mushtaq said many students and educated people had been trapped in the clutches of these apps offering online interest-based loans.

Initially, the apps offered loans to students and unemployed people on nominal interest but later, they were forced to pay hefty interest.

In a rising trend, many scammers are launching “easy loan” applications on Google Playstore and Apple iStore; however, as easy and convenient as the loans may seem — given that they do not require extensive paperwork — these applications are proving to be a menace to countless people.

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