KARACHI: When Muhammad Imran went to the National Savings Centre’s (NSC) Shahrah-e- Faisal branch on March 31 to buy special savings certificates worth Rs200,000, he accepted an over-eager ‘employee’s’ help at the cost of Rs55,000.
As Imran was filling out the form, a man approached him and claiming that he was one of the employees, proceeded to help Imran in filling out the forms. Then when Imran took out the cash from his pocket, the man claiming to be an employee said that the notes were facing the wrong side and started to flip them. Meanwhile, another man approached Imran to ask directions to the nearest United Bank Limited branch.
When Imran took the money back after giving directions and headed to the cash counter he was told that he was short of Rs55,000. By the time Imran ran after the perpetrators, they had fled. “My money is gone and it cannot be brought back. I am raising this issue so that something like this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” said Imran, who criticised the lack of security at the NSC. All three guards, he said, were sitting outside, drinking tea.
He also complained that the staff of the centre does not wear a uniform, making it hard to differentiate between employees and other people. Imran has identified the culprits on the closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras but blames the NSC for not taking any action. “I went to the Citizens Police Liaison Committee with the case but they directed me to the police,” he said. However, the police station under whose jurisdiction the NSC branch falls is under construction, according to Imran.
The director of the NSC’s Karachi region, Razia Qauser, however defended the organisation and said that Imran shouldn’t have handed his money to a stranger without finding out who he was. She also added that the NSC had handed the CCTV footage to the police and that security is being beefed up in all branches, including the installation of CCTV cameras.
“You have to understand that our budgets are very limited,” Qauser said. “We are trying to do the best we can, but client awareness is extremely important. Our efforts will be futile otherwise.” The NSC deals with about 300 to 400 clients on a daily basis. They claim that due to immense public dealing, there are many people coming in and out of the building and that it is next to impossible to keep tabs on all of them. DESIGN: AMIR MIRZA