Ever wondered what happens when you live in a country where cryptocurrencies are banned? Well, simply put you get prosecuted.
However, we’re not talking about the republic of China for once, this time it’s Pakistan that’s in the news for it’s anti crypto laws. As per a report by Samaa News, on the 8th of March, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested an individual in Peshawar for dealing in Bitcoins.
The report revealed that the FIA also took two more suspects into custody. The two suspects who were students were later released after an inquiry. This comes as no surprise as the FIA has been quite strict about enforcing the country wide ban on cryptocurrencies.
As per the report, Qazi Hameed who is the FIA’s Cyber Crime Additional Director the students were told that trading in Bitcoins is illegal and made the assurance that neither student had taken any money from the public.
Speaking about the condition of cryptos in the country, he further added that there is next to no awareness regarding Bitcoin in Pakistan.
“Bitcoin is a digital currency and it is not accepted by any central bank. It does not have a legal entity. People are getting to know about it through social media and investing in it.”
He further advised Pakistani citizens against investing in Bitcoin and other cryptos and warned that it was a risky mode of investment. He added that the FIA is doing their part by spreading public awareness on the matter via multiple public forums.
The FIA is also currently investigating 14 people in the Khyber Pakhtunkwa region who are suspected of being involved in the “Bitcoin business” as they put it.
This news comes as surprise to few as back in 2018, the government of Pakistan in accordance with the Federal Investigation Agency’s recommendations moved to declare digital currencies such as Bitcoin illegal in the country, Pro Pakistani reported.
This recommendation was followed by another that stated that the government should include clearly defined punishments for crypto asset related frauds and crimes.
According to official documents, “Bitcoin / digital currency is not recognized by State Bank of Pakistan as legitimate business and are causing huge monetary loss to the government exchequer. So it should be declared illegal with the inclusion of definition and distinct punishment of this emerging crime.”
As expected not everyone is happy with this decision as the world moves forward with digital assets and currencies;
Will this inability to address and understand the nature of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies leave Pakistan behind in the digital race?