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HomeEntertainmentFact-check: Has Pakistan stopped banks from collecting donations for Gaza?

Fact-check: Has Pakistan stopped banks from collecting donations for Gaza?


Posts on the microblogging platform X purport that the Pakistan government has directed all public and private banks to stop collecting donations for Gaza.

The claim is false.

Claim

“Pakistani government has asked all banks to stop accepting donations for Palestine,” wrote an X user on November 8, “Here is one circular from Bank Alfalah.”

Alongside the claim, the X user also shared an alleged letter by Bank Alfalah, dated November 3, advising all its branches to “not accept any funds in favour” of the bank account titled “Embassy of the State of Palestine”.

The post has to date been reposted and liked over 3,000 times.

The claim has also circulated elsewhere on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Does the State Bank of Pakistan take orders from Israel now?” wrote another X user on November 9, “A bank has issued a circular to not receive money in the bank accounts of the Palestinian embassy.” The account also shared the purported letter by Bank Alfalah.

This post had been viewed over 150,000 times on X, reposted 3,800 times and liked 5,500 times, at the time of writing.

Fact

While the letter circulating online is authentic and has been issued by Bank Alfalah to its employees, however, it does not bar the staff from accepting donations for Gaza. In fact, no such restriction has been imposed by the federal government or the central bank in Pakistan.

On November 9, Bank Alfalah clarified in a statement, posted on its Facebook account, that the internal memo circulating online had created a “misleading” and “absolutely incorrect” impression that banks have halted accepting donations for Palestinians.

“In Pakistan, the operational accounts of embassies are restricted from receiving donations,” the statement read, adding that donations can only be accepted in bank accounts created especially for the purpose.

Separately, Noor Ahmed, the chief spokesperson of the State Bank of Pakistan, has labelled the claims as “fake news”.

“This is fake news,” Ahmed told Geo Fact Check on the phone, adding that only eligible charities can collect donations for Gaza and are doing so.

“You will have to open a separate account to collect donations,” Ahmed explained, “While [bank accounts] of embassies are set up for a specific purpose.”

Ahmed further added that these measures have been taken as per Regulation 6 of the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism/Countering Proliferation Financing Regulations.

Regulation 6, which deals with funds in the bank accounts of NGOs, charities and trusts, states that the State Bank must ensure that such accounts are being used for “legitimate purposes”. It also adds that personal bank accounts cannot be used for the collection of donations.

Geo Fact Check further contacted Dr Shamshad Akhtar, the interim federal minister for finance. Hamid Raza, the director general media of the Ministry of Finance, responded on her behalf and said that per his findings the instructions issued by Bank Alfalah were a “normal procedure”.

“Embassies cannot accept donations in this way, it is the protocol of the State Bank,” Raza said, “Otherwise, there is no ban on sending aid” to Gaza.

He further clarified that the federal government cannot direct the State Bank of Pakistan as the central Bank was independent.


With additional reporting by Muhammad Binyameen Iqbal.

Follow us on @GeoFactCheck. If our readers detect any errors, we encourage them to contact us at [email protected]





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