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Date Posted: 06:21:41 01/23/05 Sun
Author: JAVED

By javed - 10 October 2003

The Federal Government will impose restriction on the use of
currency notes garlands was a news item from a special
correspondent. Commenting on it Mr. Hafizur Rehman in his
weekly column DAWN 8.10.2003 wonders why did not the special
correspondent go to the bottom to find out whose bright idea
was this. Mr. Hafizur Rehman appreciates how the federal
government was worried about people’s attitude towards money.
A letter from Dr. M. Yaqoob Bhatti of Lahore in this esteem on
14.10.2003 quotes CNN that dirty currency notes contain
bacteria which cause hepatitis B and other diseases. This
letter of Public spirited Dr. Bhautti has appeared in other
dailies too which show how concerned he is.

Exactly I do not remember but it was approximately 1985-87 when Rs. 500 currency note was introduced. At that time I was working in middle east but was in Pakistan on leave. During my one month stay I could not see what design of new Rs. 500 note was though I saw its photograph in the newspaper. Whenever I en-cashed a cheque I got Rs. 100 notes. On my enquiry the bank casher told me newly introduced Rs. 500/- note had not so far come in the Bank. The second day on my return back to middle east I saw Pakistani Rs. 500/- crisp brand new serial wise currency notes with footpath money changers similar as we see in Boulton Market Karachi. It surprised me and I took up the matter with Federal Ombudsman that why this note was not available in the market and how in new packs it was available abroad. At that time Mr. Hafizur Rehman, the columnist read by serious readers, was Director General Public Relations in Federal Ombudsman Secretariat Islamabad and people’s real great friend Mr. Justice Sardar Mohammad Iqbal was the first Ombudsman Pakistan. It was the time which Mr. Hafiz would remember when no public raised issue was refused on the ground “it is your suggestion, you are not aggrieved, under law so and so suggestions can not be entertained” etc. I have in my old record many letters signed by Mr. Hafizur Rehman on behalf of the then Ombudsman advising me to remain in touch with the Secretariat encouraging me to take up issues concerning community interest. I raised the question that when people do not even find a Rs. 1/- full bundle of 100 notes for Eid and always get on encashment of a cheque/draft soiled currency notes from banks how it was that brand crisp notes were available in large quantities with garland sellers, footpath currency dealers at Boulton and Empress Markets and abroad. My argument was that it was not possible unless people from SBP and two departments I named therein were not giving their blessing to this trade. The Federal Ombudsman duly entertained my communication as a complaint and did not refuse that I was not an aggrieved. A lot of correspondence between SBP and me through Federal Ombudsman secretariat was exchanged and Final Decision of Ombudsman came wording of which according to my memories were that SBP will ensure that brand new currency notes do not find way to garland sellers as these notes get damaged there and public thus gets soiled and damaged notes. But who cares on implementation. Mr. Hafiz knows better than me that Federal government’s concern will remain a concern to be repeated again in next 8-10 years.

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