Despite clear directives of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to ensure uninterrupted working of automated teller machines (ATMs) especially during the last week of Ramazan and before and on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr, banks kept the tradition alive as majority of the ATMs were found closed or out of order on Thursday in various parts of the city.
A number of clients were seen visiting one ATM to other in desperate search for a working machine to withdraw cash as they had come to the markets along with their families for Eid shopping, which is days away.
Branches of almost all public and private sector banks at Bank Road, Adamjee Road, Mall Road Saddar, all along Murree road, Chaklala Cantt, Fawara Chowk, Tench Bhatta, Chur Chowk, Misrial road and Qasim market frustrated their consumers as they returned empty handed after seeing the message of regret displayed on ATM screens.
“ATMs are considered to be a big relief for consumers in need of hard cash but they have in fact become a pain in the neck, particularly ahead of Eid,” said Shahzad Butt, a government employee.
Butt, who visited various ATM’s in search of urgently needed cash, said he tried his luck at several ATM machines in the city but to his utter dismay, failed to draw cash.
Afzal Khan, another bank client, said people especially salaried class is among the worst sufferers of frequent closure of ATM’s .
Since the introduction of ATM cards, he said most people have developed a habit of keeping limited cash as a safety measure with the understanding that they would be able to draw cash using the facility in any part of the country on need-basis.
The customers have demanded of concerned authorities to ensure proper working of ATMs owned by public and private banks for uninterrupted service.
They said frequent and hours long closure of ATMs in the name of so-called ‘hardware maintenance and link-down’ is a deliberate violation of State Bank’s instructions with for keeping the cash machines operational round-the-clock.—APP