KARACHI: Customers all over Pakistan faced difficulties withdrawing their salaries and pensions as Pakistan’s largest state-owned bank – National Bank of Pakistan – faced an online system breakdown Saturday.
Queues of furious customers, all of whom were anxious to withdraw cash before the week-long Eidul Fitr holidays, could be seen outside NBP branches and ATMs in various parts of the country.
“I have been here since 8 in the morning. I was on duty the whole night and I came here to withdraw cash to take my children for Eid shopping,” said Ghulam Mustafa, an employee of state-run news agency Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), who was waiting for his money at one of the bank’s branches in Karachi.
“They are making us beg for our own money,” he lamented.
The bank had announced it would remain open on Saturday after a central bank notification had asked for customers to be facilitated ahead of Eid holidays.
Banks will remain closed during Eidul Fitr – from Jul 5 to Jul 8 – which means that those who were unable to complete their transactions today have only Monday (Jul 4) to do so before Eid holidays.
Another customer waiting in the same branch accused the bank of deliberately withholding cash to earn profit on it. “They are hoarding cash to earn profit on it,” he said.
In Rahim Yar Khan, hundreds of customers failed to get their cheques cashed with similar reports pouring in from Lahore and Peshawar.
A National Bank employee, who refused to be named, told Dawn.com that annual closing had coincided with Eid holidays, causing delays.
“We were told by our management that systems will recover by mid-day, but the situation is in front of you.”
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan also expressed his resentment on the situation, saying that pensioners should be facilitated instead of being harassed.
Dar takes notice of pensioners’ difficulties
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar took notice of the difficulties being faced by pensioners in collecting pensions at various bank branches.
Talking to Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on telephone, the finance minister asked him to contact the National Bank Authorities and redress the problems of the people.
The finance minister also advised SBP to ensure 24-hour operation of ATM service by the banks to facilitate customers during the Eid holidays.
Dar said sufficient cash must be kept available in the ATMs to facilitate people and save them from any inconvenience.