FIA chief orders crackdown on Hundi operators

The Nation

LAHORE – Complying with the orders given by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the FIA chief has asked all the directors of four zones to conduct crackdown on Hundi, Hawla business operators in the country.
In a letter, Additional Director-General Basharat Shehzad on behalf of the FIA director-general said that every zone must conduct at least five raids daily to curb the menace.
Sources in the interior ministry said that decision was taken in a high-level meeting convened by the prime minister on money-laundering. Participants of the meeting decided that FIA should conduct an immediate crackdown throughout the country against all the operators of Hundi/Hawala and a comprehensive progress report be submitted to the prime minister office on November 24.
Keeping in view the sensitivity of issue, the FIA DG directed all the zonal heads to sensitize all field units regarding the instructions received from PM office and directed to ensure its compliance in letter and spirit.
The letter says, “It is further directed that at least five raids be ensured by each zone on daily basis. Raiding parties may also be directed to focus on seizing the laptops, mobile phones and computers during the raid. So that further information, details of their business rackets involved in the light of capital and siphoning of money out of Pakistan could be retrieved from this equipment through forensic audit”.
“It has been noticed that the raiding team, instead of focusing on the real hawaladars usually arrest their employees and finalise their investigation. Special instructions may please be issued to them to focus on the arrest of real owners of the business. The accused arrested should be interrogated thoroughly and their modus operandi for the outward transfer of money be determined so that future strategy to combat the menace could be devised,” says the letter.
When this scribe contacted a deputy director posted in upper Punjab and asked him about the directions issued by DG office and progress in this regard, he said, “It is impossible to conduct five raids daily.”
He said that there were two reasons due to which it was impossible; firstly, If FIA conducts one raid in the city all the operators will go underground immediately and there will be no success in second raid. Secondly, conducting five raids a day would mean that FIA knew the Hundi operators already but they were not being raided by FIA. It is worth mentioning here that there was special business of Hundi/Hawala in Gujrat about which State Bank of Pakistan had provided lists of Hundi business operators to Director FIA Punjab for taking action against them. Last month a deputy director Gujrat requested his Director FIA Punjab to provide him the lists of Hundi operators but he was not provided with the same. Now he has been transferred from Gujrat and Abu Zar Sibtain has taken over the charge.
When this scribe contacted him about the lists he said, “I don’t know about any list of Hundi operators”.

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