KARACHI: A division bench of the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and its cybercrime wing not to take any corrosive action against any digital currency or Bitcoins’ holder in Pakistan. Petitioner Waqar Zaka, a famous celebrity, said he would form an association for the digital currency holders.
A SHC bench headed by Justice Amjad Ali Sahito further directed the Federal Secretary Finance to appear in-person before the court on the next date of hearing. The Secretary Finance and the Deputy Director Cybercrime have been directed to appear with a written reply to Waqar Zaka’s petition challenging the legality of Crypto Currency in SHC.
“Why is the agency taking action when it has no jurisdiction to do so?” questioned Justice Amjad, expressing displeasure over FIA’s action. The SHC barred the FIA from harassing citizens until the completion of a probe against them.
At the previous hearing, the court had asked the authority why crypto-currency had not yet been regulated. “If using digital currency doesn’t constitute an unlawful act, why is it not being allowed?”
In a written reply submitted in the case, the Central Bank had opposed the use of digital currency in the country, saying that it has already issued an advisory warning against trade in virtual currency as it is not legal tender.
While talking to The Correspondent, Waqar Zaka said that court has only permitted him to continue this business. Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has also been directed not to harass me but on the next hearing “I will try to get permission as an association of the ‘Digital Currency Holders’ from the court, he said.
Waqar further said that problem is that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has banned this currency in Pakistan. On this basis the FIA was harassing ‘CryptoCurrency Holders’, but after this decision of the SHC, “FIA will not take any action against me.” He said he will make an association of the ‘CryptoCurrency Holders’ and will apply again in SHC to get permission for all of them.
The bench further issued a show-cause notice to FIA Deputy Director Cybercrime Wing as he was not appearing before the court despite the court’s directions.
Petitioner Waqar Zaka claimed that Central Bank imposed a ban on the use of digital currency on April 6, 2018, despite developing countries earning significant revenue from it which doesn’t pose any threat to national interests.