At a time when the world is earning billions of dollars through digital crypto currency by using Bit coins (BTC), a substitute to paper currency, Pakistan is still miles behind in adopting this digital mode of currency. All over the world, even in our neighboring India, crypto currency is being used as the fastest, easiest and the safest mode of exchange and countries, companies and even individuals are earning billions through it.
But what is making our rulers hesitant in adopting digital finance that is in practice worldwide is still confusing and unknown giving the interests of government in crypto currency is too bleak. Too add further fuel the fire the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing is persecuting those who are trying to make living through crypto currency.
Government on the other hand is reluctant that there is no ban on the crypto currency in Pakistan, but it had not been regularized yet. The government is still working on a framework for regulating crypto currencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and other currency mining’s.
However, the only person who is taking about it and letting the case of crypto currency die is the long known social media celebrity, host, anchor and Founder of the Technology Movement Pakistan (TMP) Waqar Zaka. He is the lone voice championing the cause of crypto currency in Pakistan and has urged the government of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) at different forums to legalize its use in the country. He recently went to Sindh High Court with the case of legalizing the crypto currency.
He filed a petition in the Sindh High Court (SHC) requesting the court to direct the government to give a clear stance over digital currency. He was the lone petitioner seeking the relief for using BTC in Pakistan. Waqar Zaka has been extremely open with the public about the use of crypto currency and its importance in Pakistan, he encouraged multiple people to try the method themselves and educate others. He claimed that this would be a great alternative to boost the economy and generate cash flow as well as raise people’s real incomes.
Waqar Zaka was also reluctant with the financial watchdogs in Pakistan. He said that, “the SBP is a regulator and not a complainant. Secondly, FIA Cyber Wing can only take action against the person who violates any law. There are no suo-motu powers in hands of FIA Cyber Wing.” He further asked the question that, “So, if no one is violating the rules and crypto currency is not illegal in Pakistan then why is government hesitant to invest and regularize it?”
In his petition, Waqar Zaka also cited the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), FIA Cyber Wing, and the Securities & Exchange of Pakistan (SECP) and the Ministry of Finance as respondents of his petition in the Sindh High Court. On the last date of hearing, the SBP counsel admitted before the court that, “the state bank had never banned crypto currency; however, he informed the court that the laws regarding this new type of digital currency are not formed as yet.”
VJ turned social media influencer; Waqar Zaka has also launched the movement “Tehreek-e-Tech” movement to spread awareness and educate the people about the benefits of crypto currency. The sole and main aim of the movement is to launch Pakistan’s first crypto currency. Waqar Zaka while sharing his thoughts said that,“If Prime Minister Imran Khan launches the Pakistan’s own crypto currency as Bitcoin; then our country will be able to get foreign investment from around the world to pay our debts in form of direct investment.”
He said that to make this movement a success, he has put together a team from various universities including NED and NUST among others to collaborate with each other in this regard. He added that, “this team will also help to launch the crypto currency free-of-cost with zero investment.”
Last year, the country was planning to introduce new digital currency regulations for electronic money institutions. In April 2019, the SBP announced plans to launch digital currency by 2025. This delay in it is another lost opportunity for Pakistan to earn billions of dollars through this avenue. As for today, value of 1 Bit coin stands against 4.3 million PKR which is an increase of 230% within 5 to 6 months.
The author is doing M. Phil in Public Policy and Governance. He is working as a freelancer. Previously worked with HubPages and Washington Post.