PESHAWAR: Elders from various districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have urged the provincial government to implement the Prohibition of Interest on Private Loans Act, 2016, in letter and spirit to curb the menace of usury to rid the people of the unending economic problems.

Speaking at a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club on Tuesday, Amn Jirga chairman Syed Kamal Shah Advocate demanded of the government to remove the hurdles in effective enforcement of the vital law in the province.

Flanked by members of the jirga and notables of various districts, he said the law had been enacted in five districts — Peshawar, Mardan, Nowshera, Swabi and Charsadda — aiming to discourage the menace of interest-based private loans and to bar money lenders from charging interest and assaulting the borrowers for recovery of their amounts. He, however, said the law should be made more effective with removal of all hindrances in this regard.

Mr Shah said the Amn Jirga members were properly monitoring the negative impact of interest on private loans and trying to rid the people of the menace. He alleged that the SHOs of various police stations in the above districts had made lists of people involved in interest-based business. However, he said that some senior police officials were also allegedly taking bribe to protect the people involved in the unlawful activity.

He said if the government failed to implement the law its entire responsibility would rest with the police officials.

The Amn Jirga chief said the money barrowers were still using blank cheques as tool for blackmailing and bargaining for first investigation reports (FIRs) in police stations. He said an accused arrested by police due to involvement in interest-based business was later freed after negotiation and bargaining with officers at police stations.

He urged IGP Nasir Khan Durrani to take personal interest in implementation of the law and terminate the police officials violating the law.

Mr Shah asked the government to establish a directorate on pattern of Directorate of Right to Information in order to facilitate the victims of the interest-based loans and collect data of the people running such illegal business.

Besides, he also urged the NAB and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission to take action against the culprits.

Published in Dawn January 4th, 2017