Pakistan Blacklists More Than 100 Digital Loan Apps

The Caretaker Interior Minister of Pakistan, Sarfraz Bugti, has officially blacklisted 111 online applications that were providing interest-based loans. This decision comes after concerns were raised by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed about the increasing prevalence of such apps in the country. 

Minister Bugti revealed that the Cyber Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had taken action by confiscating Rs 1.8 billion related to interest-based transactions. Legal proceedings have been initiated against individuals operating these mobile apps, with cases awaiting resolution in the courts. The government’s swift actions targeted apps not registered with the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) of Pakistan.

Despite these efforts, the Minister acknowledged the limited capacity of the FIA to handle cyber-crimes due to capacity constraints and legal complexities. Senator Mushtaq pointed out that students and educated individuals have fallen victim to these apps, which initially offer nominal interest rates but subject users to exorbitant charges later on. 

The proliferation of “easy loan” applications on platforms like Google Play and Apple’s App Store, often introduced by scammers, has become a menace affecting countless individuals. The government is taking steps to address this issue, including offering free marketing to genuine loan apps and collaborating with regulatory bodies to curb fraudulent practices.