Now a new breed of people and institutions has emerged to harass and defraud the people of this country. As the lawyers have become robbers, therefore people have no respite against them. I remember having got Mr. Farook Naik to do three cases for me for three thousand rupees each, totaling nine thousand rupees but I have been told that now lawyers of his standing do not charge less than a crore for a case. We rightly blame politicians and bureaucrats but what about others. For example, one of the worst institutions in Pakistan is our bank. You can write as many letters as you like but they never reply to you, and when they do it is only orally so that they can tell you lies. Four of the most dishonest according to my experience are the Allied Bank, Habib Bank and the Standard Chartered Bank, led by the State Bank of Pakistan, which supports them instead of helping the citizens of this country, from whose taxes it has been set up.
According to an ex-President of Habib Bank, the dishonesty and fraudulent behavior of Habib Bank Ltd dates back to the very inception of Pakistan, when Muslim victims of genocide, under threat of death in India sent their life savings to the Habib Bank as the only Muslim bank in Karachi. This was done in the hope that when they reached Pakistan they would find their deposits safe with a Muslim Bank, but instead they were robbed by it. When they were killed for supporting the Muslim League and voting for Pakistan, the Habib Bank never tried to trace their heirs to hand over their money to them. According to him when he took over as head of Habib Bank, he found that one officer of the bank maintained 140 bogus accounts. And according to the Asghar Khan case bank funds were used to corrupt politicians and election results.
The tactic that banks use against their account holders, as aforesaid, is not to give you anything in writing, or to reply to your letters in writing. You may write as many letters as you like, but you do not get any reply from them except verbally when you visit them, or on the phone. In both cases there answers always consist of lies. Recently I became victim of this horrible dishonest organization called the Habib Bank at their Islamic Branch. I found that they care neither for the law of this country nor for Islam. And it did not matter to him how many letters I wrote to their president because I never received a reply save a verbal one from their hanger on.
This is in contrast with banks in the UK where as a student I once issued a cheque, which I had failed to sign, but my bank honoured it. Similarly when I went back to the UK after two decades and presented a cheque to one of its branches, the lady clerk enchased it without hesitation. Furthermore, once while going through my papers I found an old deposit book from a bank in Germany, where I once lived, to discover that I had few marks left in it. Therefore I wrote to them after a decade and got a statement of my account from them. This is not so with the Standard Chartered Bank in Pakistan, where they freeze your account and allow you to deposit money in it, but do not allow you to withdraw your own money from it. This happened to us when the earthquake came in 2005, and we went north to help them, while our children went abroad to study and work. When floods came to Sindh in 2010 and we came back to Karachi we found that Standard Chartered had frozen all our accounts, in the name of wife, my children and myself. Although all our accounts were either or survivor, joint accounts, we found that the Standard Chartered Bank had changed the meaning of the English words, either or survivor, and insisted that all the signatories with their CNICS must present themselves before they would consider allowing us to operate our joint either or survivor accounts. When I complained to the State Bank of Pakistan, it acted as a slave of the foreign bank, and said that either or did not allow one party alone to operate an account. As my children had gone abroad and were not coming back any time soon just to operate our accounts with the Standard Chartered Bank therefore our either or survivor joint accounts with them remained frozen. And none of the slave governors and president of the State Bank of Pakistan (Kardar) or the Standard Chartered Bank (Dada) ever responded to our letters, knowing well that the lawyers have become robbers therefore we are not likely to file a case against them. And judges are too squeamish to award damages against them, as one supreme court judge told me that you expect us to award damages as they do in USA which are more than our total life salary.
My letter to Governor State Bank of Pakistan dated 1st April 2011;
I am sorry to say that instead of protecting the interest of citizens, the circulars and directions of the State Bank of Pakistan are being used to harass, oppress and misappropriate property of its citizen.
I have either or survivor accounts with my sons who have gone abroad before CNIC’s came into being. I have repeatedly explained to Standard Chartered that State Bank direction can only mean that my sons cannot operate their accounts till they submit their CNIC but the Standard Chartered cannot stop me from operating accounts which have been opened by me on either or survivor bases as it contravenes my contract with them of either or.
I have also asked the Standard Chartered that if they cannot allow me to operate my either or survivor bases accounts then they should close the accounts and return my money to me. I cannot believe that the State Bank has directed the Standard Chartered to illegally hold what belongs to me in violation of my fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution whereby any rule or law which violates my right to my property is abinitio void.
I and my wife have been working in Swat and Siran Valley since the earthquake therefore we were not aware of the illegality being perpetrated by the Standard Chartered in the name of State Bank of Pakistan. It was their duty to send us notice and inform us of change in rules thus giving us a chance to close our accounts.
Suhail Zaheer Lari
My letter to President, Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited dated 31 December 2012;
I opened my account in Mercantile Bank in 1960s. Mercantile Bank was taken over by Lloyds Bank, which in turn was taken over by Grindlays Bank. Thereafter it became ANZ Grindlays Bank and then Standard Chartered Grindlays. Now it is simply Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited.
At each change of name the bank service deteriorated. For example, the Officers of Mercantile Bank came to my office to open my account. And officers of Grindlays Bank went to Karachi Grammar School to persuade my two sons to open their joint accounts with them. Now, Standard Chartered Bank officers neither visit nor reply to letters. Similarly, the Mercantile, Lloyds and Grindlays Banks used to send statement of every transaction. Now Standard Chartered fails to issue even six monthly and annual statements, which my other banks do. Therefore I have been unable to reconcile my accounts with Standard Chartered Bank for over a decade and had to stop operating them.
The Standard Chartered has kept my money frozen in five of my six accounts at a loss to me. For example, balance in my HLSZL saving account seized by Standard Chartered was 124,001.04 on 1st July 2007 and instead of increasing it went down in three years to 123,489.16 on 11 August 2010. And balance in another of my saving account YLSZL seized by Standard Chartered was 958,153.40 on 1st July 2007 and instead of increasing it went down in three years to 954,198.27 on 11 August 2010. Whereas a number of Banks and financial institutions openly advertise between 8 to 14.5% annual payment on deposits, which I have been unable to avail because Standard Chartered has not allowed me access to my money in my accounts with them.
Since the earthquake in 2005 we have been working in Siran Valley to alleviate the suffering of earthquake victims and after floods we have been working in Swat to alleviate the suffering of flood affected there in war torn conditions in which no other NGO was prepared to go. During this period Standard Chartered did not answer anyone of my letters. Therefore when I was in Karachi in July 2010, I personally went to Clifton Branch to get statements of my six accounts with Standard Chartered. I was refused the statement of my current account no 18-7225970-01 in the name of Lari Associates, saying that it has become dormant. Although in over forty years of maintaining this account it has never happened before. I could not understand as to how being dormant means that I cannot have statement of my account therefore I wrote to Standard Chartered on 23 July 2010 that if they do not want my account Standard Chartered should close my account and issue a cheque for the balance in my account but to this day Standard Chartered has neither given statement nor balance in my said account and unilaterally and illegally appropriated my money in the said account without ever giving any notice or explanation.
To test state of my other accounts with Standard Chartered when I was again in Karachi I issued a cheque no 994889 for Rs. 10,000/- to Karachi Gymkhana on 13 January 2011 from my saving account no 18-7204701-01 with Standard Chartered which was returned uncashed on 18 January 2011 by Standard Chartered to my embarrassment. I also issued two cheques each for Rs. 1,000/- on 14 January 2011 from my other saving accounts nos. 18-7204094-01 and 18-7204647-01 with Standard Chartered, which were also returned, uncashed without any notice or explanation.
More recently Standard Chartered has given me similar treatment regarding another current account. They returned my crossed cheque No’s. 5834868 dated 1 November 2011 for Rs. 62,500/- in the name Usmani Consulting Private Limited and my crossed cheque No 5834869 date 14 November 2011 for Rs. 250,000/- in the name of Fazlisons, resulting in embarrassment and delay in urgent work by these two firms.
In the light of above
Standard Chartered bank has no right to seize the balance in my current account No. 18-72259970-01 in the name of Lari Associates.
Standard Chartered bank has no right to seize the balance in my saving accounts nos. 18-7204701-01 and 18-7204647-01 because these accounts were opened on either or survivor basis with me.
Standard Chartered bank has no right to seize the balance in my saving account no 18-7204094-01 with my wife which was opened on either or survivor basis with me.
Standard Chartered bank had no right to return crossed cheques issued by me from my current account no 01-6420923-01.
Suhail Zaheer Lari
I never received any reply to my above letters from the President of Standard Chartered Bank or my complaint to the Governor of State Bank of Pakistan.
I wrote to Habib Bank Ltd on 20th November 2018;
After 2015 Earthquake we helped build about fifty thousand houses in about two hundred fifty villages for which we received Islamic Bank Jeddah Laureate and Fukuoka Award from Japan. As we have never taken any penny from any government therefore we collected every penny from every account that we had. I also repeatedly asked you all these years to transfer few rupees that I had in my account with you. As there are still innumerable people living without any roof or adequate protection and our zero carbon houses alone are earthquake proof as tested by NED Engineering College Lab under supervision of its Vice-Chancellor. They are also flood and rain proof and only cost about thirteen thousand.
Now in response to my letter dated 7/8.11.2018, I have received your letter dated 9.11.2018 from which it is obvious that you have without any notice or information to me closed my account number 0047-00102187-01 and pocketed the balance.
In this you are being true to your tradition as father of dishonest practices in Pakistan. According to a former President of your bank at the time of partition your bank was a Muslim Bank therefore Muslims of minority Muslim provinces deposited their money hoping that when they or their heirs reach Pakistan they will find their deposit safe but you pocketed most of it. Similarly when he took over as President he found that one officer of the Habib Bank maintained one hundred fifty fake accounts. Again there is the famous Asghar Khan case where funds were used to corrupt the political system. And there is most recent case in New York where according to media Habib Bank was slapped with fine and ordered out of USA for white-collar crime.
As against that when I was a student in UK in fifties I had inadvertently left a small balance, however when I went back after twenty years and presented a cheque for the balance to one of its branch the lady at the counter did not even look at me and cashed the cheque.
Suhail Zaheer Lari
I wrote to Complaint Management Division, Allied Bank and the Manager, Allied Bank Branch on 23 April 2018;
When I made deposit of 15 Million rupees with ABL on 17 October 12 ABL manager assured me that I will receive 7.45%n on my deposit and to confirm it he later handed me a brochure published by ABL which said that 7.45% would be paid on deposits between 10 and 25 million.
And when I made deposit of 10 million on 18 June 13 and 30 October 13 ABL manager assured me that I will receive an interest of 7.1% on it and confirmed it by later issuing a certificate to that effect.
Similarly, we received UK Pound 185,000/- in our account in October 2012 it was converted by ABL @ Rs. 153 per pound when the rate was Rs. 153.3941 per pond therefore you made Rs. 72,908/- at our cost.
Therefore please be so kind as to correct your facts and make correct payments due to us amounting to over 24 lakh, failing which we have no option but appeal to Banking Mohtasib, State Bank of Pakistan and the Chief Justice as I find that our banks are turning to unfair practice.
Suhail Zaheer Lari
However, the Banking Mohtasib rejected my appeal against the Allied Bank on email. And asked me to file separate complaint on each issue 45 days after giving notice to Allied Bank by filling their form on paper and totally avoid email.
I am sure that you know the number of trees and other vegetation cut down in order to make paper is enormous and chemicals used in paper manufacture, including dyes, inks, bleach, and sizing, can also be harmful to the environment. And if we do not act now against carbon emission it will not be possible for life to exist on this globe in hundred years.
Therefore since the earthquake of 8 October 2005, we have helped build about fifty thousand houses in about two hundred fifty villages, which are about zero carbon, earthquake proof, flood and rain resistance, with smokeless Chula (stove), hand pumps for clean water, toilets and nine community forests, that cost about thirty thousand rupees and single house cost only thirteen thousand, for which we have received innumerable awards. Few examples;
Islamic Development Bank Laureate 2013,
Japan Asian Fukuoka Laureate 2016,
UN World Habitat Laureate 2018,
A test by the NED Engineering University personally supervised by its Vice Chancellor proved that our house would survive an earthquake of greater intensity than that had hit Kobe in January 1995 in Japan.
However, while we were away working in villages helping the devastated, the banks in Karachi kept on cheating us. Therefore I wrote to you, the Banking Mohtasib, with the oath commissioners stamped attestation that:
Allied Bank converted UK Pound 185,000/- in our Heritage Foundation account at Rs. 153 when the rate published in Dawn was more.
We made a deposit of 15 Million rupees with the Allied Bank when its leaflet promised 7.45% interest but it did not do so in fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of contract.
We made a deposit of 10 Million rupees with the Allied Bank when it promised in writing to pay 7.1% interest but it did not do so in fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of contract.
And despite our repeated verbal and written request on 5th, 10th and 17th December 2018, you have unlawfully failed to return our money.
Although 175 states including Pakistan signed the Paris Agreement on global warming on 22 April 2016, the KPK government has announced that it will be rid of all paper work by next year and the Prime Minister has been talking of planting billion trees. You continue to ignore our emails and insists on paperwork that denudes our forest cover, and has failed to take any action whatsoever against the Allied Bank.
Further, only a robber lawyer can only do your paper work. I remember having paid Farooq Naek three thousand rupees each for my three cases in 1980’s but now I have been told that lawyers of his standing charge (rob) up to a crore which means that thousands of families will remain without cover this winter. Yet you insist on our giving up zero carbon and denuding forest cover over Pakistan by use of paper.
Suhail Zaheer Lari
I also sent similar email to the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan but like the banks I did not receive any response from him. Although one of the fundamental responsibilities of the State Bank is regulation and supervision of the financial system to ensure its soundness and stability as well as to protect the interests of depositors.