SIMs retailers complain about harassment by law enforcers -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

SIMs retailers complain about harassment by law enforcers

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: Cellular SIMs retailers on Tuesday complained about ‘harassment’ by law enforcers and feared the ‘coercive’ modus operandi may dislodge the entire re-verification process of customers through Biometric Verification System.

Retailers said the government had assigned them a ‘big’ project to re-verify over 103 million SIMs across Sindh but the law enforcers’ actions pushed them to danger with regard to their security and livelihood.

Due to the telecom companies heavy reliance on SIMs retailers to carry out the re-verification process, they are largely worried about completion of the re-verification process within the specified period owing to law enforcers activities, sources in the cellular sector said.

All cellular companies unlikely to meet the deadline of April 13, 2015 to accomplish the task, since a number of retailers in the province faced harassment, which widely fails the official standard operating procedures specified by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority for SIM re-verification, they added.

Subscribers with three or more SIMs registered to their identity card numbers are being re-verified during the first phase as Feb 27 has been set a deadline for unverified subscriptions. The next phase starting from Feb 27, will re-verify subscribers with one or two SIMs till 13 April, ending the opportunity period to cease all unverified numbers permanently, according to them.

Over 60,000 retailers have been assigned to re-verify SIMs. Some 18000 retailers in different cities and districts of Sindh are taking part in re-verification process while over 9000 of them are in Karachi only, as the government has declared the metropolis one of the most sensitive areas, they pointed out.

Law enforcers especially in Sindh are accused of extorting money from retailers of mobile companies under the garb of government’s campaign against illegal SIMs, they said.

They said the law enforcers over the past few weeks raided several franchises of mobile phone operators and retail shops in Karachi, Kotri, Kashmore, Guddu, Hyderabad, Dadu, Nawabshah, Matli, Tando Allahyar and Tando Adam while scores of retailers had been taken away for ‘unknown’ reasons.

Cellular companies are worried about the security of their retailers, whom the law enforcers continuously raiding with confiscating their ‘biometric verification system devices’ and SIMs, they said, making it clear that “SIMs can never be sold illegally with biometric verification system in place.”

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