KARACHI: The issue involving a social media influencer allegedly involved in a Rs420 million ballot committee (BC) scam took a turn on Tuesday when she approached a sessions court seeking protection against harassment.

The sessions court issued notices to the SSP-complaint cell and Sharea Faisal SHO on the application of Sidra Khalil Humaid asking the officials to file their comments till Dec 14.

Ms Humaid moved the court seeking protection from a number of people, who accused her of depriving them of their huge amount of money in the name of ballot committees, better known as ‘BC’.

The applicant’s counsel, Kamran Alam, stated that his client was being alleged of running an online financial scam despite the fact that she neither sold any product nor used any advertisement on any online platform.

He stated that it was a form of traditional way of collecting money from different people, pool in the same and then return it to the investor/members on their turn.

The counsel said that Ms Humaid had simply asked her investors on the social media to not panic and their money would be returned in the coming months.

He argued that such an announcement on the social media does not come within the meaning of committing an online fraud.

He stated that the applicant was ready to return the money to every genuine investor, but alleged that many people with fake claims had also turned up to claim the money from his client despite the fact that she owed nothing to them in real.

The counsel said that a number of people had been visiting her house, harassing her and using abusive language to demand their money back.

He added that an application was sent to the Shareal Faisal SHO through TCS on Dec 6 (today) requesting to provide the applicant protection from harassment and also register an FIR against the harassers after duly recording her statement.

In the meanwhile, the counsel said the court was also approached to seek a direction for the SSP (Complaint Cell) and Shareal Faisal SHO to record the statement of the applicant and register an FIR, if the cognizable offence was made out.

The court was pleaded to issue instruction to provide adequate protection to the applicant as she apprehended threats to her safety and security.

Sidra Humaid, owner of a home-based food business ‘Daily Bites’ and handicraft start-up ‘Cróise’, is alleged to have defrauded hundreds of her depositors by announcing on social media that she had “no means to pay off her committees” to around 200 contributors leaving them in utter shock and disbelief.

Since last week, social media is abuzz with stories of victims of what many described as a Ponzi scheme. Many victims reached out to each other and formed WhatsApp groups to take action against Ms Humaid.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2022

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