PTA asked to get tough on mobile phone companies -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PTA asked to get tough on mobile phone companies

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Sub-Committee on Interior directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to get its regulations strictly implemented by mobile phone companies.

The Committee meeting, presided by Senator Gulshan Saeed expressed serious concern over large-scale proliferation of unauthorised mobile SIMs in the country and their alleged link to crimes.

The Sub-Committee also directed that no mobile SIM be issued without a valid copy of CNIC duly verified from NADRA and to verify and regulate the SIMs issued earlier in a phased manner during a certain period after which the unauthorised SIMs must be blocked.

The Committee also took cognizance of virtual lack of control of PTA over cellular phone companies and their franchises as well as lack of interest by the authority in attending the meeting of the Committee. It took strong exception to the absence of representatives of PTA and mobile phone companies from the meeting despite prior notice and categorical instructions and asked the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom Division to take stock of the situation. During the meeting, it was observed that implementation of regulations at the grassroots is not possible without the help of Law Enforcing Agencies (LEAs) and the Provincial Governments.

Therefore, it recommended that the provincial governments be given powers of execution by the PTA since law and order is a provincial subject. It was also emphasised that breaking the nexus between the unscrupulous mobile user and crime is most vital for improving the over all law and order situation in the country.

The meeting strongly recommended proper documentation of all mobile users and sale of SIMs through a verifiable and foolproof system. The Sub-Committee also took a serious notice of the promotional ads being run by mobile companies in the print and electronic media and expressed the view that most of these ads are not in conformity with our social, moral, ethical and religious values. “Incorporation of culture must be resisted in the larger interest of the society and social harmony”, it observed. The committee asked the PTA, Ministries of IT and I&B to monitor the advertisements and stop screening the unethical ones; which are spoiling the younger generation.

“The code of conduct with regard to advertisements must be followed in letter and spirit”, it emphasised. “Revenues are important but so are our morals,” observed the committee members.

It was also suggested that in case of some crime wherein the use of a mobile phone is established, police officers of the rank of at least DSP/SP be exclusively entrusted with the responsibility of unearthing such mobile phone related crimes at the district level.

The present practice of entrusting the responsibility of investigating such crimes to various agencies has proved counter-productive because of time-consuming procedures.

The members of the Committee said that even parliamentarians are not issued SIMs by SAARC countries without proper verification of their data from their respective Embassies and High Commissions and that SIMs were valid only for the period of the conference/visit.

However, the situation here is such that SIMs are being sold on footpaths, the committee members stated. They said, these companies are earning millions of rupees in profit and therefore, must be tasked to follow proper regulations, especially, with regards to the security and law and order.

The meeting was attended by senators Rehmatullah Kakar and Tahira Latif besides senior officials of the Ministry of Interior and ICT administration.
Source: The News
Date:9/8/2007