LAHORE: The Government of Pakistan, after requests from the Punjab government, has issued new stamp papers with added security features to counter bogus printing and counterfeiting, The Express Tribune has learnt. The papers can only be used for non-judicial matters.
The new stamp papers were issued in Lahore and other districts of the province from April 24, an official requesting anonymity said. The new stamp papers have also entered use in other provinces.
The new stamp papers contain serial numbers, a counter file slip, bar code, embossed features and a secret security logo of the Government of Pakistan. Value of the new papers range from Rs20 to Rs25,000.
The maximum value of old stamp papers was Rs1,000, and the minimum was Rs20; and they contained only a logo of Pakistan and a hidden stamp for verification. In 2007, the Punjab government requested the federal government and the Chief Controller of Stamps to change the design and features of stamp papers, as a large number of counterfeited copies were being used for the registry and mutation of land and agreements.
With improved security features, average sale of the new stamp papers in Lahore jumped to Rs18 million per day, from Rs12.4 million recorded previously. A senior official of the treasury said the jump was an indication of the size of the black market for fake stamp papers.
The Punjab Government has also changed the verification process for stamp papers. Under the old system, the issuing authority verified stamp papers on the spot; affixing a stamp to it that said “verified”. Now, every stamp paper has a counter file which is kept with the treasury office at the time of issuance; while the sub-registrar is required to submit all received stamp papers in sealed envelopes through a designated official for verification. The treasury office – after matching the stamp papers with the counter copy retained in its records – verifies the document and sends it back sealed through a designated official.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2012.