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Waqar Zaka’s non-bailable arrest warrant issued in cryptocurrency scam

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  • FIA booked Zaka for allegedly maintaining two accounts for cryptocurrency trading. 
  • FIA prosecutor directed to submit report regarding execution of warrant.
  • Court adjourns hearing till January 5, 2022. 

A local court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for Waqar Zaka — who is a television host and social media activist — in a case pertaining to suspicious Rs173 million cryptocurrency-related transactions, The News reported Friday. 

Earlier this year in January, the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) cybercrime circle had booked Zaka for allegedly maintaining two accounts for the trading of cryptocurrencies/virtual assets.

The case was taken up by Judicial Magistrate (East) Mukesh Kumar on Thursday against Zaka, who is spearheading a campaign for virtual currencies to be declared legal tender in Pakistan.  

The magistrate directed the FIA prosecutor to submit a report regarding the execution of the warrant on the next date and adjourned the hearing until January 5, 2023. 

The case

The case was lodged on the complaint of the state through Shehryar Ahmed Khan, assistant director of the FIA cybercrime circle, who stated that an inquiry was launched against Zaka upon receipt of a source report from the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) in August 2020.

He said the record collected by the FIA from the relevant banks revealed that during the last three years, transactions of over Rs173 million were observed in his bank accounts, including an aggregate credit of Rs86.1 million and debt of Rs87.1 million.

The statement of the accounts revealed that funds were being credited into these accounts through foreign remittances (interbank fund transfer) and clearing of cheques, which were subsequently debited through internal transfer to accounts of his family members, he added.

The FIA stated that Zaka used social media for charity purposes and international funding, receiving Rs6.8 million, which was withdrawn through the pay order and interbank fund transfer.

“The multiple news, blogs and videos were found on a public database which transpires involvement of accused Waqar Zaka into cryptocurrency/virtual assets,” it claimed. “During the enquiry, Bitcoin/cryptocurrency-related posts were found on his Twitter account, the accused also promotes cryptocurrency like Bitcoin through YouTube channels.”

The agency said the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) did not recognise virtual assets as a legal tender to store and transfer value, adding that the central bank had also issued a caution regarding the risk of trade in cryptocurrencies and prohibited the public from trading in any such currencies.

It said that after examining the report, secured documents like copies of the bank records and institutions and oral evidence, it had been substantiated that the accused, in violation of banking rules and regulations and prescribed law of the country, fraudulently and dishonestly committed the offence of virtual assets trading and facilitated the use of virtual assets for transferring funds and generating funds.

The FIA maintained that after the inquiry was initiated and the accused was summoned, he launched false propaganda against the institutions of the state and was found involved in illegal activities through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter by putting up objectionable material against the institutions, threats to government officials and provoking the public against the state.

Zaka was allegedly found guilty of committing the offences punishable under the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act, 2016, Pakistan Penal Code, Anti-Money Laundering Act 2020 and Foreign Exchange Regulation Act 1947.

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President Asif Zardari emphasizes the importance of offering assistance to the impoverished and middle-income groups in the federal budget.

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President Asif Ali Zardari has emphasized the importance of offering assistance to the impoverished and middle-income individuals in the forthcoming federal budget for the fiscal year 2024-25.

President Asif Ali Zardari expressed these remarks during in a meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The conference was attended by Ahsan Iqbal, the Federal Minister for Planning and Special Initiatives.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday to request complete support from him and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for the next budget approval.

The President pledged to offer complete cooperation in attaining the objectives for the economic and developmental advancement of the nation.

Additionally, please peruse: Overview of the 2024-25 Budget

Both parties engaged in a discussion over the current economic state of the country. In addition, they deliberated on factors regarding the provision of assistance to the general people in the forthcoming budget.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also briefed the president about his recent visit to China. Leaders of nations and governments also deliberated on the development initiatives outlined in the forthcoming budget.

President Asif Ali Zardari emphasized to the Prime Minister the importance of offering assistance to the impoverished and middle-class individuals in the forthcoming federal budget.

The government is set to unveil a budget of Rs. 18 trillion.

It is important to mention that the government is prepared to deliver a federal budget above Rs18,500 billion today (Wednesday).

The government has allotted a sum of Rs2,100 billion for defense expenditures and Rs9,700 billion for interest payments on reserved loans. An allocation of Rs. 1500 billion has been made for development projects.

The budget allocates 253 billion rupees for the energy sector, 827 billion rupees for infrastructure, 800 billion rupees for energy sector subsidy, 206 billion rupees for water resources, and 279 billion rupees for transport and communication. The budget has a GDP growth target of 3.6 percent.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will collect taxes amounting to Rs. 12,970 billion.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been assigned a tax collection target of 12,970 billion rupees for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) would need to generate an additional revenue of 3,720 billion rupees, with 3,452 billion rupees coming from direct taxes and 267 billion rupees from customs duties, in comparison to the current financial year.

The Inland Revenue’s tax revenue is projected to reach 11,379 billion rupees, with direct taxes accounting for 5,512 billion rupees and income tax contributing 5,454 billion rupees.

The income tax volume has set an extra objective of 1773 billion rupees, bringing the total aim to 2500 billion rupees.

Conversely, the parliamentary party of PPP convened a meeting led by former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. During the meeting, assembly members voiced their apprehensions about the budget and stated that the terms upon which Shehbaz supported the government have yet to be fulfilled.

PPP leader Syed Khurshid Shah expressed his lack of knowledge on the specific details of the budget, as well as the agreements with the IMF and China, during a conversation with the media. In the past, the opposition was consulted, while an ally is not consulted.

The government is presenting a growth-oriented budget today, which amounts to Rs18,900 billion.

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Pakistan

The Prime Minister expressed deep sorrow at the demise of the Vice President of Malawi in an aviation accident.

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif conveyed his profound sorrow on the demise of Vice President Saulos Chilima of Malawi in a sad aviation accident.

The prime minister sent his support to the government and citizens of Malawi during this difficult time and offered his condolences to the grieving family.

Saulos Chilima perished in an aviation accident, alongside nine other individuals, as declared by the nation’s President Lazarus Chakwera in a national speech.

The airplane became untraceable after it was unable to successfully touch down at the Mzuzu International Airport, located around 380 kilometers north of the capital city, Lilongwe. Chakwera has announced that the plane wreckage has been found.

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The court authorizes court reporting through the use of the IHC and grants permission to the media.

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The court has authorized the media to report on court proceedings, with adherence to the guidelines specified in a Supreme Court ruling.

The Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued a written ruling granting approval for the plea to delay the hearing of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and instructed that the matter be scheduled for a hearing in the first week of July.

The ruling is a result of petitions submitted by the Islamabad High Court Journalist Association, press association, and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), which contested the PEMRA announcement.

On May 24th, the IHC sent notifications to PEMRA and the information secretary after receiving a petition that questioned the authority’s prohibition on publishing judicial proceedings. The court issued an injunction preventing PEMRA from imposing any disciplinary measures on television channels based on the present notification.

The court has also issued a notice regarding a miscellaneous petition that seeks to completely halt the PEMRA notification. This lawsuit exemplifies the ongoing legal dispute regarding the control of media coverage of court proceedings and the delicate balance between media freedom and the integrity of the judiciary.

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