FIA to crack down on online fake faith healers

Court approves bail of suspect who had threatened to post nude pictures of a girl online

Imran Asghar March 06, 2019
Court approves bail of suspect who had threatened to post nude pictures of a girl online. PHOTO: FILE

RAWALPINDI/ ISLAMABAD: Like most businesses and scams, fake faith healers have turned to the internet to rob the people of their hard earned money. However, their days of profit could soon be over with the authorities deciding in-principle to crack down on them in the cybersphere.

While they are yet to formally launch a crackdown, the cyber crime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the police and other law enforcing agencies have decided to launch an operation in this regard.

FIA sources have disclosed revealed that in this modern age, a large number of citizens continue to be defrauded by the intrinsically old hoax. However, these conmen have now harnessed digital technology for this purpose.

He added that during a high-level meeting which reviewed the performance of regional officers of FIA, it was revealed that the authority had received a number of complaints against online faith healers from across the country.

Most of the complainants were from women who had been snared in this fraud while pursuing solutions to various personal problems relating to marriage, employment and lack of children.

An analysis of these cases revealed that many women had been fleeced by these fake faith healers who had assured them of quick, fruitful results but later fled with their money.

Sources further disclosed there were numerous complaints where citizens had been defrauded of up to Rs.1.5 million while promising them a better future or solution to their most pressing problems.

Most of the victims hailed from Azad Kashmir, Karachi, Quetta, Lahore, and Upper Punjab.

As part of their investigations into these fake faith healers, the FIA’s cyber crime wing has said to have prepared a list of more than 1,000 pages on various social media websites where faith healers engage with their victims. These webpages will be monitored and targeted with the assistance of the victims and other tools to nab the culprits.

Apart from this, the FIA has also decided to launch an awareness campaign amongst the public about the different ways in which these faith healers target and entrap their victims so that they could avoid the trap.

As the first step to this, citizens have been encouraged to lodge complaints against such fake online ‘pirs’ at the FIA office in their localities or through the website.

Suspected harasser granted bail

A high court on Tuesday granted bail to a student who was charged with harassing a girl online.

The bail was granted by a bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the counsel for the girl, the petitioner, told the court that the suspect had hacked her facebook profile and had threatened to post her naked pictures on Facebook if she refused to meet with him.

The suspect set a time and place for the girl to meet. The girl, however, complained to the FIA who raided the given location at the given time and arrested a suspect and seized his mobile phone.

On checking, the petitioner’s photos and videos were recovered from his phone.

However, during the hearing, the girl told the court that she had no objection on the suspect being granted bail after an alleged compromise was struck with the suspect.

At this, the court said the suspect appeared to be involved in blackmailing the girl. However, since the girl did not have any objection to bail being granted and a certified reconciliation document was submitted, bail was approved.

Online deal goes awry

A citizen, who had bought a cell phone online, discovered too late that he had been robbed.

According to the Lohi Bher police, Adnan — a resident of Media Town — saw an advert posted by Abdullah on online classifieds website OLX for a cell phone. The two agreed to a price of Rs18,750 for the device.

Abdullah then delivered the mobile box to Adnan, took the money and went away. Later, when Adnan opened the box, he found that the box was empty. Since then, Adnan said that the suspect has not been receiving his phone calls.

The police have registered a case against the suspect but have yet to trace him.


Published in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2019.


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