Thursday, June 28, 2012

Warid SMS Crore Ka and Ufone’s ShahCar Offer continue despite PTA’s direction

Warid SMS Crore Ka and Ufone's ShahCar Offer continue despite PTA's direction
Warid’s SMS Crore Ka and Ufone’s ShahCar offers are running despite of clear cut direction from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA)  to all the cellular operators and other telecom companies in Pakistan to stop running any such prize winning offer (Inami Scheme) immediately.
PTA issued a letter to all telecom companies operating in Pakistan to stop running  these kind of schemes after the authority was directed by Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Few days earlier, Chief Justice of Pakistan, while hearing a case with reference to Inaami Schemes had said that “All Prize Winning or Inaami Schemes which are promoting gambling are against Islamic values” and directed PTA to stop such schemes immediately.
Although, PTA acted according to Supreme Courts’ direction but the scheme from Warid (SMS Crore Ka) and Ufone (ShahCar 2) are running successfully along with the media campaign from the latter.
A source at PTA revealed that soon as authority issued the letter to telecom companies, very next day they approached Islamabad High Court (IHC) and obtained the stay in their favor nullifying PTA’s directions.
A source at Warid telecom on the condition of anonymity told ‘MORE’ that Supreme Court never directly said to stop these scheme. Instead, the direction from apex court to the authority was to stop such Inaami schemes which are ill-structured and somehow promote gambling.
Source further confirmed that Warid and Ufone took this plea in the Islamabad High Court that these schemes cannot be stopped immediately as there are many stakeholders involved already who are working together after having lawfully agreed on the terms and conditions as per law of land.
Prize Winning / Inaami Schemes are always run by hiring the services from third party, most of the time a software or application provider company, after signing a proper agreement. There is always an element of investment involved prior running such schemes. On the basis of above stance from us, Honorable Islamabad High Court issued stay in our favor, source added.
Ufone’s ShahCar 2 offer has been extended till June 30 whereas Warid’s SMS Crore Ka is expiring on June 4.
We asked PTA if it really feels helpless under this situation? The official spokesman of the authority said, “PTA is currently reforming its regulation regarding the Inaami Schemes that also include any such activity that could possibly promote gambling in Pakistan through telecom companies”.
“Although, PTA’s interim order has been challenged in the court of law and for the time being cellular operators are free to run the campaigns unless the case is in the court, but, we have also informed the Supreme Court with the details. The apex judicial authority has also directed the IHC to finalize the proceedings within two months” added spokesman.
MORE has received several emails from angry customers of Warid about their scheme SMS Crore Ka. In all the emails customers confirmed,  ”after spending thousands of rupees and despite of earning high score, we never won a single prize. Instead we keep receiving messages from the company to spend more money as your prize is just few clicks away”.
Customers called this scheme a complete fraud and a way of minting money.
On average, a normal customer is spending Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 5,000 in hope of becoming millionaire.  There are thousands of Warid customers who have even spent more than Rs. 10,000.
An annoyed customer Aslam Mughal from Sialkot said, “Warid has approximately 15 million customers, if we take into account that only 25% of their subscriber base took part in this scheme and if we set an average spending as Rs. 2,000 per customer then the figure becomes  more than Rs. 7 bn and what they are distributing is just peanuts. I have written a letter to Supreme Court regarding this mega fraud and waiting for the response”.
An official of Warid said, that the entire process is computerized and only software can declare the winners and the runners up after analyzing the database of participants and their scores. There is not human element involved.
We contacted Ufone to take the version but the official spokesman told that the concerned persons are unavailable for commenting on this sub-judice matter.

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