Govt likely to extend biometric SIMs verification deadline date -
Pakistan Press Foundation

Govt likely to extend biometric SIMs verification deadline date

Pakistan Press Foundation

LAHORE: The government is likely to extend the date of biometric mobile SIM verification as only 31 million SIMs were verified out of 103 million cell-phone users in the country during the first 29 days since the biometric verification started.

The government, after the Peshawar tragic incident, has decided under the National Action Plan to verify all the cellular users in the country through biometric verification.

After the decision, a nationwide drive was launched by all the five cellular operators under which they are registering their users through biometric SIMs verification through the Nadra data. The government has given February 26, 2015 as the cutoff date for the registration of cellular connections through biometric verification after which all non-registered SIMs will be deactivated by the cellular operators.

However, now only two and a half weeks are left in the deadline for the SIMs verification but only 31 million users out of the total 103 million have so far verified their cellular connections through biometric verification.

On the ratio of the current verification rate, it is expected that a maximum 55 million users will be verified by February 26 while the remaining 48 million will be left to do the re-verification in the next 16 days.

An official of the Nadra said in the first 29 days, 31.025 million cellular users were re-verified through biometric verification system. On an average, during the last week 1.59 million daily verification hits were received in the system.

The sources in the government said all the cellular operators had jointly taken up the issue with the authorities concerned to extend the deadline for the biometric SIMs verification as all the companies are currently focusing mainly on only this and putting their all business targets aside. around 21 percent users so far have re-verified their SIMs while the companies are still unable to extend the biometric verification campaigns to the villages level extensively.

In such a scenario almost half of the SIMs will remain not verified by the end of February 27 for which extension in deadlines is necessary. On the other hand, big queues are seen at the retailers, franchises and customers centres of all the cellular operators for biometric verification. The number of users is still waiting for fall in crowd so that they can re-verify their SIMs in a hassle-free atmosphere.

Similarly, the cellular operators have also been arranging special biometric SIMs verification counters at various public and community places, such as press clubs, high courts, railway stations, markets and other place to maximise the re-verification by the deadline of February 27. However, despite all out efforts only 31.025 million users are re-verified so far.

The government officials said in the light of the existing efforts, the government is considering extending the deadline of re-verification procedure. However, he said under the extension of deadlines all unverified SIMs will be deactivated once and will be activated again when the users approached their cellular operators concerned for verification.

Meanwhile, the cellular operators are seeking government support not to deactivate those SIMs which were not re-verified by February 26 deadline. They are requesting the government to allow re-verification as its ongoing process. They believed that if those non-biometric SIMs deactivated after February 26, then all the industry will suffer billion of rupees loss during the deactivation to reactivation time lag of these non-biometric verified SIMs.

Other than this, it will also put an extra pressure on all the five cellular operators as well as Nadra system as everyone who is left behind in re-verification process will rush to their respective services providing telecom company for reactivation after re-verification.

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