The State Bank of Pakistan had promised that a new set of banknotes was designed in order to prevent counterfeit. However, this has not deterred those determined to proliferate fake copies, as evidenced by an increase in First Information Reports (FIRs) against the discovery of counterfeit monies in the month of January by 44 per district.
The report had been compiled and unveiled by the non-governmental organisation Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) at their Islamabad office on Thursday. They had collated data based on monitoring of 78 offices of the District Police Officers across Pakistan.
The report recorded 44 per district FIRs for counterfeit money per district in January 2012 as compared to 37 per district in December, 2011 and 28 per district in November 2011.
The report further revealed that of the 2,906 reports monitored under threat, fraud and counterfeiting category, forged currency accounted for 1,902 reports in 43 districts, making it the most frequent and widely reported crime.
Lahore topped the list for such reports with 644 FIRs, followed by Faisalabad (260) and Gujranwala (174).
Under the threat and fraud category, 14% of the FIRs were for cheating, another 13% for criminal breach of trust, 6% for criminal intimidation and 1% each for offences against public tranquility, fraudulent deeds and dispossession of property.
The report said Punjab had the highest percentage (89%) of FIRs for threat and fraud crimes. In contrast, reportage for the same category was quite low in Sindh (6%), followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (5%) and Balochistan (1%). There was no case filed under the category for Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) in the month monitored.
The report stated that better outreach, lack of parallel judicial systems and a higher confidence level shared by the police and the public may have been among the probable reasons for better crime reportage in Punjab than in other areas of Pakistan. As many as 36,567 FIRs were filed for the 27 crimes under observation in the month – 58% of the FIRs falling in the category of ‘other crimes’, followed by crimes pertaining to property (23%), physical harm to people and threat and fraud crimes (8% each) and crimes against women (2%).
Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2012.
Correction: An earlier version of this report incorrectly put rise in FIRs of forged banknotes as a percentage. This figure was a rise in per district reporting. The error is regretted.