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ISLAMABAD: Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) has announced to have launched a massive crackdown against delinquent mafia that is found involved in malpractices and illegal deductions from the BISP beneficiaries.

Corresponding to this move, the BISP Punjab region has blocked 312 points of sale (POSs) agents on account of established embezzlement complaints with 19 POS agents having been put behind bars, 30 first information reports (FIRs) lodged in local police stations and one case referred to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Cybercrime Circle Lahore, the BISP said on Tuesday.

These measures aim at taking on the mafia that is behind the illegal deductions from the BISP beneficiaries through automated teller machines (ATMs) and POS agents— in order to ensure transparent disbursement of BISP funds among beneficiaries, an official statement from the BISP said.

In addition, it said, the BISP has taken up with Habib Bank Limited (HBL) the matter of the unavailability of biometric-enabled ATMs offering cash withdrawal to the BISP beneficiaries, in pursuance of the related orders of chief justice Lahore High Court (LHC).

Following the CJ LHC directions, it has been ensured that all 149 HBL ATMs in the Multan region are biometrically-enabled and operational on 24-hour basis throughout the week to provide a cash withdrawal facility to BISP beneficiaries, the press release said.

Director General BISP Punjab Arshad Liaquat Chaudhry and other relevant officials are “personally paying” field visits to monitor the smooth distribution of the BISP funds under the directions of LHC, the statement added.

The DG BISP Punjab, in the statement, urged the BISP beneficiaries to receive their full amounts from HBL ATMs through biometric verification.

He said the beneficiaries should visit the nearest BISP office for complaint lodging and immediate redressal in case of any complaint(s). Stern legal action would be taken against anyone found involved in foul play in cash distribution to the beneficiaries, Chaudhry added.

Earlier this month, CJ LHC Ameer Bhatti took notice of long queues of female BISP beneficiaries outside the ATM of HBL main branch Multan for withdrawal of their quarterly instalments.

The CJ LHC expressed annoyance over the smaller number of ATMs for BISP beneficiaries in Multan and questioned why a notably smaller number of ATMs was assigned to facilitate some 82,000 beneficiaries in the Multan region.

He directed the HBL and BISP to ensure the facilitation of Kafaalat Programme beneficiaries through ATMs of all branches round-the-clock in the said region. He directed the HBL and BISP to provide relevant information to BISP beneficiaries regarding cash disbursement on electronic and print media.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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