Spectre of fake currency

AT a time when the country is facing serious challenges on economic front, the spectre of fake currency is once again haunting the country very seriously. Proliferation of fake notes of the denomination of 500, 1000 and 5000 is not only leaving the defrauded people in pain and agony but also undermining national economy. The threats posed by the circulation of counterfeit currency could be far more serious as the terrorist can use them to finance and perpetrate their evil acts.
Especially in the busy markets, the high denomination fake notes are in wide circulation. In some cases, it has been seen that the bank ATMs and officials are issuing the fake notes. We are not saying that bank officials themselves are behind the production of such notes but in fact the counterfeiters are employing such sophisticated methods and materials that even bank officials are unable to discern between genuine and fake notes. The situation is alarming and we expect that government and State Bank of Pakistan will urgently take notice of the situation and initiate strict measures to curb this menace. In the past, we have seen the central bank launching awareness campaigns to help people detect the fake notes. We understand that such awareness campaigns are good as far as making the people alert of the threat but practically it doesn’t help ordinary people much in making the distinction. In fact gone are the days when a fake note could be detected by touch and feel as those behind this have to a great extent succeeded in replicating almost all the security features that are found in genuine notes. In the face of such an organised and high-tech threat, in addition to better intelligence gathering, we need to deploy right technological options on a massive scale to catch and root out the counterfeiters. Our banks need such kind of cash machines that can not only verify images but also check the chemical and physical properties of paper, ink, resins and other materials used. Our authorities can also seek expertise from other countries to incorporate more security features in currency notes. This is a challenge worth investing in and government should not hesitate to imply all resources to achieve it.

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