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FIA assures online hearing facility for businessmen

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KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has assured the businessmen that it will look into the possibility of providing an online facility to them for clarifying their position instead of travelling to FIA circles in far-flung areas.

Responding to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (KCCI) suggestion, FIA director general Dr Sanaullah Abbasi said: “This online hearing mechanism could be set up for handling cases/notices being received from faraway circles all over Pakistan to minimise the hardships being faced by [the] business community.

Speaking at an online meeting, Abbasi said that it was the motive of the FIA to fully serve and facilitate the business community and provide them maximum possible solutions to their problems, besides paying special attention to the business community’s suggestions, as they, being the backbone of the country, generate economic activities.

He also nominated FIA South director Amir Farooqi as the focal person for dealing with the complaints being raised by the Karachi Chamber, which would further improve the coordination between the two institutions.

Referring to the suggestions given by Businessmen Group (BMG) general secretary A Q Khalil, Abbasi assured that after consultation with the FIA team, these suggestions will certainly be incorporated in the policy with a view to improve visa on arrival facility at the airports.

Briefing the meeting participants about numerous initiatives taken for promptly dealing with the digital banking and cybercrime cases, he said, it had always been his priority to ensure business-friendly approach, while dealing with all such cases for the continuation of the economic activities.

“[The] cybercrime has been rising, as we are receiving a lot of complaints. Hence, we are making all-out efforts and will try our best to resolve such complaints at the earliest,” he added.

Khalil underscored the need to simplify the visa on arrival facility at the airports, as the foreigners, particularly businessmen, face immense hardships in availing this facility, mainly due to bad attitude of the FIA officials deployed at the airports.

“Under the existing policy, a deputy director of FIA is wholly and solely responsible for either issuing or rejecting visas to any foreign investor without consulting with any chamber of commerce or relevant local businessmen. Such bureaucratic hurdles create a lot of problems and at many occasions, as some of the credible foreign investors face deportation that needs to be given special attention, as it sends a negative message about Pakistan,” he added.

Khalil advised the FIA director general to publicise the progress reports and achievements in dealing with the menace of cybercrimes, as a lot was being claimed but nothing much has been published.

“Pakistan has remained in the grey list of [the] FATF [Financial Action Task Force] for quite some time now, and we are not much acquainted about our shortcomings, whereas it has also been observed that the FIA has been constantly intervening in [the] business transactions; hence, the FATF conditions for money laundering have to be effectively highlighted so that the business community could comply to the same and accordingly carry out their transactions,” Khalil suggested.

KCCI president Shariq Vohra said that the FIA’s perception has been gradually improving across the country due to the dedicated efforts being made by the officers like Sanaullah Abbasi, who has been striving really hard to serve the country.

“However, we request the FIA director general to also look into the matter of a large number of notices being issued to the members of the business community by the FIA, which are a major source of harassment,” he added.

To promptly resolve numerous issues being faced by the business community, he advised the FIA director general to nominate a focal person from the agency who could look into the issues being raised by the Karachi Chamber so that they could be amicably and effectively resolved.

Expressing deep concerns over the notices being issued to the KCCI members in Multan, Faisalabad and other far-flung areas, chairman of the KCCI’s Law and Order Subcommittee, Junaid ur Rehman, called for devising an effective mechanism for holding all such hearings in Karachi and said that if these cases were not serious in nature, these should be immediately disposed of without creating more difficulties for the businessmen and industrialists.

He also requested the FIA director general to enhance the capacity of the system implemented for handling the cases pertaining to digital banking crimes and make it more efficient.


Republic Desk

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