Lahore, July 19: Authorities in Pakistan have arrested 20 persons and blocked around 50 'illegal' lending apps during a crackdown launched following the suicide of man who couldn't pay off his debts taken from a digital loan company.

"The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has arrested 20 people involved in illegal business of offering loan through mobile applications. It has also sealed the offices of six companies involved in this illegal activity," an FIA spokesperson said on Wednesday. BRICS Summit 2023: Russian President Vladimir Putin Not To Attend Summit To Be Held in South Africa, Announce South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The FIA asked the people to first check on the website of the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) whether the company or app in question offering loan is registered with it or not.

The FIA launched the probe against the online loan apps early this week after a man named Masood committed suicide for being blackmailed by the recovery staff of the loan service in Rawalpindi district of Punjab province, some 350 km from Lahore. Japan Boat Fire: 10 Rescued After Boat Catches Fire in Tokyo Bay.

The widow of the deceased said her husband took a loan from the online loan app (Humraah Financial Services and Sarmaya Microfinance (Pvt) Ltd) and the payment was increased drastically after he failed to make payment within the given deadline.

Masood took another loan to repay the first payment and the amount soared to Rs 700,000. He then committed suicide and narrated his ordeal in the audio clip, which surfaced online, prompting action from the authorities.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has also blocked around 50 loan apps not registered with the SECP. The PTA has also referred the cases of these companies to the FIA for action.

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