Pakistan: Few clouds, 30 °C
Lucky draw schemes – A punishable crime
Become Crorepati by answering a question via SMS; Go abroad Just buying one product (free tickets) and win a 1300cc car or home in posh areas are the slogans revolving in most of the telecom and other corporate sector companies’ ads to facilitate customers these days are likely stairway to heaven after the Supreme Court decision regarding lucky draw schemes that are unlawful and tantamount to gambling is quite surprising.
For the last few years, many lucky draw schemes have been introduced, as part of most of the company’s good will promotional ongoing campaigns by rewarding its customers with cash prizes, cars, residential flats in posh areas and much more from sports balls to lucrative abroad tour tickets.
The trend of free gift schemes by lucky draw has become popular and attracted people to take part in it vigorously and win a chance to enjoy lavish life in this modern age. The demand has increased and is increasing simultaneously so that companies like telecom sector are offering many lucky draw schemes like Warid ‘SMS Caror Ka’ that offers to become Crorepati on single SMS via quiz campaign based on answering simple questions.
Ufone is another one that offers 10 Ufone consumers 1300cc Toyota Corolla car by lucky draw recently through its ShahCar offer by buying just a new Ufone SIM or port-in your current number to Ufone, make sure your Ufone SIM is on your name, and spend at least Rs.200 of balance which will automatically enter them into the lucky draw.
PTCL, a well reputed telecom giant has cheated with its valuable customers and the prize amount has not yet been awarded to them. Sheikh Mushtaq Ahmed, for instance, is one of the winners of PTCL landline connection scheme appeared before the Supreme Court and told that there is no prize money awarded to the winners so far.
It is worth mentioning here that the notorious gamblers in the recent past in Pakistan have given many shapes to amplify their business by introducing lucky draw schemes, looting the poor and innocent people by enticing them into the gambling through showing them dreams of attractive returns on their money due to deliberate indifference and closing of eyes on the crime by the law enforcement agencies.
It is to be noted that several fraudsters had already made peoples fool with millions of rupees in the name of lucky draw schemes and monthly profits over money from the poor and innocent people. Double shah scandal is one from them. The scandal is one of the biggest financial frauds in Pakistan, which originated in Wazirabad during 2005-2007. The scam, perpetrated by ‘Double Shah’ – a fraudster in saintly disguise – deprived 43,000 people of more than Rs1.32 billion on ‘promise’ of returning twice their invested money.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has taken action against these schemes and lotteries by prize bonds and declared them tantamount to gambling and strongly forbidden across the country. The Chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Choudhry has termed it as a punishable crime and criticized Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and PTCL referring to a prize bond scheme for new customers of landline connections, recently offered by PTCL for which both the authorities were well aware that such schemes were unlawful.
This is healthy step to keep poor away from such gambling into which every third citizen seems to be indulged and affected as well. This would make life easier a little for the many that is batter for the rest of the society.