Pakistan Bans 111 Social Media Apps Offering Online Loans with Interest

Pakistan Bans 111 Social Media Apps Offering Online Loans with Interest

November 14, 2023 – Pakistan has banned 111 social media apps that were offering online interest based loans, said caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti on Monday.

In a significant move to curb the rising issue of online-based loans, Pakistan’s caretaker Interior Minister, Sarfraz Bugti, announced on Monday that the government has banned 111 social media apps that were offering loans with interest. The revelation came during a Senate session where Bugti provided details on the extensive measures taken to address the mushrooming of these apps.

Bugti informed the Senate that not only had the government banned these 111 social media apps, but the Cyber Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had also confiscated a staggering amount of Rs 1.8 billion in interest. The crackdown extended further with the FIA registering cases against those individuals responsible for running these mobile apps, with their cases now pending before courts of law.

Addressing concerns raised by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed about the proliferation of social media apps offering online interest-based loans in the country, Bugti emphasized that swift action was taken as soon as the government became aware of the issue. He revealed that the targeted apps were not registered with the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan, prompting the government to initiate actions against them.

While shedding light on the challenges faced by the FIA in combating cyber-crimes, Bugti acknowledged the agency’s limited capacity in dealing with such issues, citing both resource constraints and legal complexities. He expressed the need for broader legal frameworks and enhanced capabilities to effectively tackle cyber-related offenses.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmed highlighted the detrimental impact of these online loan apps on students and educated individuals who, enticed by nominal interest rates, later found themselves ensnared in exorbitant repayment obligations. Ahmed emphasized the deceptive practices employed by these apps, initially luring users with seemingly favorable terms only to subject them to usurious interest rates later on.

The government’s decisive actions against these unregistered and unscrupulous online loan providers reflect a commitment to protecting citizens from exploitative financial practices. The banning of 111 social media apps and the substantial seizure of interest demonstrate a concerted effort to curb the negative consequences associated with these platforms.

As cases against the individuals responsible for these apps proceed through the legal system, there is a growing expectation for more robust regulatory measures to be implemented. The government’s acknowledgment of the challenges faced in dealing with cyber-crimes also raises the prospect of broader discussions and initiatives to bolster the country’s cyber-security infrastructure.

The crackdown on online loan apps marks a significant step in safeguarding the financial interests of the public and underscores the government’s commitment to maintaining a secure digital landscape for its citizens. The ongoing dialogue in the Senate reflects a collective effort to address the multifaceted challenges posed by the rapid evolution of financial services in the digital age.