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State Bank hasn’t banned cryptocurrency in Pakistan, lawyer tells SHC

Waqar Zaka says FIA should be stopped from arresting possessors

SAMAA | - Posted: Nov 5, 2020 | Last Updated: 3 weeks ago
Posted: Nov 5, 2020 | Last Updated: 3 weeks ago
State Bank hasn’t banned cryptocurrency in Pakistan, lawyer tells SHC

Photo: AFP

The State Bank has not imposed a ban on cryptocurrency in Pakistan, the central’s bank lawyer told the Sindh High Court on Thursday.

The lawyer said the bank had issued a warning against it and hasn’t regularised it.

It was misreported by the media that cryptocurrency has been banned in Pakistan, said social worker and TV show host Waqar Zaka, the petitioner in the case. The FIA has been arresting people for possessing Bitcoins and they should be stopped, he argued. “Parliament has not passed any law to ban it.”

The central bank has said that no one can be stopped from starting new businesses but they won’t provide any guarantee to those investing in cryptocurrency, remarked Justice Amjad Ali Sahito.

The court had given the federal government a last chance to submit its written reply in the case and summoned the FIA Cybercrime Wing’s deputy director at the next hearing.

Zaka had filed a petition against FIA arresting people for “carrying” Bitcoins in January.

On April 7, 2018 the State Bank had issued a warning against the use of cryptocurrency in Pakistan. “The SBP has not authorised or licensed any individual or entity for the issuance, sale, purchase, exchange or investment in any such virtual currencies/coins/tokens in Pakistan,” read its notification.

It prohibited banks from “processing, using, trading, holding, transferring value, promoting and investing in virtual currencies/tokens”.

The warning was issued because of the tremendous volatility of virtual currency exchanges, which sparked concerns that they can be used to launder money.

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