A two-year-old bitcoin ban decision in Pakistan has taken another twist with the Sindh High Court (SHC) questioning the move. Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro heard the petition regarding the ban on cryptocurrencies imposed by the State Bank of Pakistan back in 2018 following an appeal against the action.
The highest court in the Pakistani province of Sindh has asked the government, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the country’s central bank to provide a comprehensive report regarding the blanket ban enforced against cryptocurrency operations in the country, according to a report by a local media outlet.
Pakistani bitcoin ban under probe
Back in 2018, the Pakistani central bank issued a circular ordering all banking institutions, financial services providers, and payment processors to cease using digital currencies, or offering their services to clients engaged in cryptocurrency dealings.
Besides, the SBP pronounced all kinds of digital currencies as illicit, noting that they are not legal tender. Moreover, the central bank claimed they are not issued nor supplied by the government. The SBP went on to caution financial institutions to report every crypto-related transaction as sceptical.
The bitcoin ban followed a similar blanket ban imposed by the Reserve Bank of India against digital currencies. The Indian central bank similarly advised all financial institutions to stop serving bitcoin dealers.
Nevertheless, although the bitcoin ban made life harder for Pakistani traders, it did not entirely impede them from trading or using crypto. Instead, bitcoin traders in Pakistan have employed different methods such as the use of peer-to-peer platforms to evade banking institutions. Such practices have made the bitcoin ban irrelevant to some extent.
High court judge challenges SBP’s crypto ban
Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro, who lead the court hearings against the ban, was unhappy by the decision to ban cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, he even highlighted that Pakistan is far behind when it comes to matters of technology. The judge asked to ask why cryptocurrencies are prohibited in Pakistan when they are used all over the world.
The Pakistan crypto community is excited following the hearing, with the hope that the ban will be lifted, the same way it was lifted in their neighbouring country India.