Debtors' prison in Pakistan?

I just heard a cryptic news report about “defaulters” being imprisoned by Pakistani regime. These defaulters are said to have political connections which allowed them to get dodgy bankloans.

The thing I don’t understand is, what exactly is the crime? Are they actually being imprisoned for declaring bankrupcy? Or is there some kind of translation problem? I mean, are they being charged with some kind of extortion? I accept that Pakistan has a very different culture than that which I am used to, but I would think their legal system is pretty similar to that of the UK, which makes the imprisonment of defaulters kind of hard to understand.

Nothing I write about any person or group should be applied to a larger group.

  • Boris Badenov

Not too far in the past, debtors prisons were quite common in the UK, certainly recent enough for Pakistan and other former colonies to adopt the practice.

“Deptors’ Prison” isn’t really applicable nor would there be much comparison between the current legal climate in Pakistan and the venerable English legal system. Is Pakistan not currently a military dictatorship? Pakistan probably retains some vestiges of English colonialism but it has an Islamic justice system. I believe they publicly flog people for drinking alcohol, have the death penalty for drug offenses, blasphemy, and sex crimes which includes sex between unmarried people. I don’t know whether they cut off hands of thieves and stone adulterers but it wouldn’t surprise me. Apparently vast areas of the country are not under government control anyway.
By the sounds of your news story these were probably political cronies of the previous regime. They probably changed their money into US dollars as soon as they could and socked it away in the Jersey Islands or Central America. They will be released from prison after a thorough audit of their affairs but it’s going to cost them.

Without meaning to patronizing you, try not to perceive something as complex and individual as the legal system in a foreign country like Pakistan within the context of your sophisticated home legal system.

The way I understood the news out of Pakistan was that those who had illegally obtained/granted the loans were ordered to refund the cash by a certain date. Failure to do so would get them imprisoned. It’s not a question of repaying a debt; it’s a question of returning the stolen goods.

Uh… what’s a “dodgy bankloan” and where can I get one?

Don’t know about the OP, however, in Turkey, I believe that the female family members of debtors serve “time” in a gov run brothel.

In addition to fraud charges relating to how bank loans were obtained, I believe tax evasion is also why many in Pakistan are being charged.
Pakistan for years has been a “kleptocracy”, with government officials either looting the treasury directly, or taking bribes to give businessmen special favors. The current regime is using this- either legitimately or for political reasons- to go after former government officials and the cronies that helped keep them in power.

Well, I dunno… I think about all those people responsible for the S&L scandals a few years back, rich and livin’ on easy street… Or various other con artists who scam folks out of their life savings and retire on their ill-gotten gains… tossing them in third world jail (English: gaol) makes a lot of sense to me. Much more of an incentive than simply threatening to sue them.

I agree. Who else is up for reviving the dungeon system of justice?

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island

This sounded interesting, so I took a look at the web site of The Pakistani Dawn (an English-language newspaper) and found a few stories (e.g. They seem to be saying that politically connected folks used to borrow money from banks et al, then refused to return it; and they couldn’t be sued or forced into bankrupcy because of their political connections. This sounds very plausile. I’ve seen enough NYC cops not pay for their food.