17m SIMs either stolen or obtained fraudulently
By: Ikram Junaidi
ISLAMABAD: Out of the 24 million pre-paid SIMs blocked on the recommendations of the Ministry of Interior 17 million were either stolen or obtained on the basis of fake National Identity Cards (NICs). This was disclosed at a meeting chaired by federal Interior Minister A. Rehman Malik here on Friday.
The meeting decided that mobile service providers should be made responsible to get their respective subscribers verified through a proper mechanism. It was further decided that a pro forma would be designed to instantly verify the subscribers through available electronic devices or through thumb impressions.
In this regard, a timeline would also be decided after taking into confidence all stake holders.
The meeting was attended, among others, by the federal interior secretary, information technology secretary and the chairman of the PTA.
It was decided that there should be a close liaison between the IT Ministry, PTA and Nadra for creating an effective and efficient system to avoid complication or delays or any other inconvenience which subsequently might be faced by people.
Increase in mobile phone sets with replicated IMEI numbers was also noticed, and in this connection, FBR was directed to stop import of any such sets and FIA was also asked to cease all such mobiles. It was proposed that use of stolen mobile phones would be made a non-bailable offence.
Mobile set owners were also told to report snatching of their sets to police and a copy supplied to the service providers and the PTA to enable them to block such connections immediately and use of any such mobiles be controlled by the PTA through a mechanism formulated by the Authority itself.
The meeting was told that a team headed by Member (legal), Ministry of IT, had been constituted to closely monitor all internet sites to check blasphemous, anti-Islam slogans, videos, audios and other materials.
In this regard, it was also decided that a control room under the supervision of a director of the PTA should immediately come into force.
An appeal was made to people that any such material, if found, must be reported to the PTA on its toll-free number 080055055 or mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The IT ministry clarified that neither You Tube nor facebook had been blocked while only anti-Islam and obscene material would be blocked on a case-to-case basis.