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Date Posted: 06:28:02 01/23/05 Sun
Author: JAVED

By Javed - 30 October 2003

A reader M.T. Ali (21.9.2003) is surprised that Forex companies were in business for over four year, not discreetly or covertly and since they maintained offices, advertised and were open about their modus operation then during this daylight robbery where were the State Bank, NAB, judiciary or multitude of intelligence agencies. I don’t think NAB, judiciary or intelligence agencies have anything to do with this matter except for the State Bank, Finance and Interior Divisions. However the answer is very simple in the following two self explanatory examples.

One: A housing scheme in 1993 advertised its housing project. The advertisment stated Rawalpindi Development Authority had issued it an NOC reference number so and so dated so and so of 1993. People seeing this NOC reference applied. When it was seen till 2000 all instalements have been paid Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) in 2000 (after 7 years) felt its duty to inform the public that people should not deal with the project. Deputy Commissioner in its official Report stated project was fraud. Despite that the DC delcared the scheme a fraud the Punjab Ombudsman (you can say a type of judiciary) even then felt agrrieved complainants to discuss (the fraud?) rather than taking serius note and issue some serious directive to DC/Administration/Police etc to investigate how fraud was committed, why RDA remained silent for 7 years what should be done against people doing fraud. The complainants approached NAB directly as well as Overseas Pakistanis Foundation repeatedly address NAB but never got any response.

Two: In 1980-81 a motorcycle company introduced a lucky draw istalment scheme. Lucky draw by law at that time was illegal under the law. Home Departments of Punjab and Sindh gave written permission to a company for this lucky draw business which was illegal under the law. Lucky draw companies started coming out even at small towns. Seeing the mushroom growth of such lucky draws the people’s greatest friend Mr. Justice Sardar Iqbal the then Federal Ombudsman took a suo moto note of the sitution and advised the concerned authority to take note before public gets suffered. Now since it is 25 years old matter I can not produce the papers but my memories still guide me correctly that initial reply from that concerned authority was very lethargic viz it cannot take any action as when people would get damage they themselves would refrain from joining such lucky draws. Mr. Justice Sardar Iqbql got fuirious reading this and took a serious note only then both Ministry of Interior and Finance coordinated and a circular was issued to all provinces to ban all such lucky draws. The Federal Government order to chief secretaries was that lucky draw companies be advised to refund money to the “satisfaction” in which case no action be taken against them but in case companies do not comply that then cases may be proceeded against such failing companies as per the law.

Almost all companies disappeared. I struggled 10 years at Sindh and Punjab Ombudsman forums on the point to investigate as to how a written permission was given to a business which was illegal then under Pakistan Law. A genuine work is hard to get done easily, hence permission for a work not allowed under the law must have some very interesting story to reveal. Believe me in 10 years I got many replies, a lot of correspondence but never ever got a reply to the point raised by me. The Punjab Home Department submitted to Punjab Ombudsman that if the companies have not refunded then it is the aggrieved people who are to go to courts and proceed against such defaulting companies. And the Punjab Ombudsman appears to agree to it because he did not make any comment on Home Department’s this contention. The point is if it is the aggrieved citizens who are to proceed to courts against defaulting companies then what was the need of Ministry of Finance mentioning in its 1985 Order to Home Secretaries that proceedings may be done against defaulting companies as there had never been any bar on citizens going to courts on such matters. On my request for interprattion if these are the citizens who are to go to courts against defaulting companies or these are povincial governments (Police, State or Home Departments who gave legal permission to an illegal work) the Ministry of Finance who issued the 1985 Order clarified me that these are the provincial governments who are required to initiate legal proceedings procedings against defaulting companies. Since I have no more hope of any real justice fom ombudsman system based on my experience hence now I have almost finished my struggle except for occasion reminder or so.

The answer to above query that as to why SBP or others remained silent for so many years when forex companies were doing this business lies in above 1984-85 initial reply from the “concerned authority” to the Federal Ombudsman.

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