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43 loan apps blocked: IT ministry

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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) has taken a significant step by launching a crackdown on illegal loan apps functioning in the country.

As a result, 43 apps in this category have been promptly blocked. According to Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Amin Ul Haque, the ministry has swiftly implemented instructions to block these apps.

Additionally, the minister emphasised the importance of launching an awareness campaign to prevent people from falling victim to such fraudulent activities. The statement further stated that individuals should report complaints to relevant authorities, including the PTA, FIA Cybercrime, and local police, to take appropriate action against these illegal loan apps.

According to MoITT, the IT minister has also made contact with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) with directions to take action against such elements instead of waiting for complaints.

Meanwhile, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), during countrywide operation against illegal loaning companies, has registered 74 cases for enquiries on the complaints lodged from the effectees and registered three FIRs against the individuals and companies.

It arrested 17 suspects running illegal online loan schemes from various cities and blocked 30 accounts.

FIA cybercrime wing has sealed five offices of the companies involved in this illegal activity, the FIA spokesperson said Monday.

FIA Director General Mohsin Hassan Butt has directed all field units of the cybercrime wing to take strict action against the companies and individuals offering loan through unregistered and illegal mobile applications.

The FIA DG, when contacted by this correspondent, said he has asked to take strict action against those involved in such unlawful financial activities.

“Companies obtain the licence from SECP for online loan payment Apps,” the DG said and added the SECP is the registration and regulatory authority to issue licence to Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFC) to give loan through the online Apps. Moreover, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) coordinates with the Apple and Google for removal of illegal Apps involved in the micro financing in Pakistan.

Crackdown is throughout Pakistan, DG FIA maintained, asking the citizens to check SECP website to confirm whether company App is licensed.

Victims of the loan Apps can contact FIA Cybercrime Reporting Centers in 15 cities throughout Pakistan, through Helpline 051-111345786 (Monday-Friday) and through online complaint website i.e. https://complaint.fia.gov.pk

The FIA is taking action against all the companies who are violating the SECP regulation and those who are unregistered. Moreover, in case of complaint by any victim, FIA strictly takes the action, he said.

Legality of the companies is being decided by the SECP being a regulatory authority and FIA seeks reply from the SECP to check the licence of the companies, the DG concluded.

Meanwhile, during the drive against the people involved in the Greece boat tragedy, the FIA have arrests another human trafficker, the police spokesperson said and added that the Anti-Human Trafficking Circle (AHTC) of the FIA is continuing its operations to round up the human trafficker involved in the Greece boat accident.

He said that the AHTC have arrested most of the human traffickers from Multan, Gujranwala, Kharian, Mandi Bahauddin and other areas during the operations so far, adding, the FIA has used advanced technology to arrest human smugglers.

The AHTC Gujrat circle arrested a human trafficker Iftikhar Ahmed. The suspect was involved in illegally transportation of citizens to Europe. According to reports, the accused has also received huge amount for illegally sending the citizens to Europe.

Meanwhile, the Commercial Banking Circle of FIA arrested the accused Abuzar from Khyber Bazar Peshawar in a joint operation with the local police.

During the operation, currency, hundi, hawala record and mobile phone were seized from the possession of accused Abuzar and sent for forensics. The FIA has registered a case against the accused under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act and started further investigation.

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