IHC seeks reply from IT ministry, PTA – Non-registered SIMs case -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

IHC seeks reply from IT ministry, PTA – Non-registered SIMs case

Pakistan Press Foundation

Islamabad: Chief Justice (CJ) Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Muhammad Anwar Kasi here on Thursday issued notices to the secretary ministry of information technology and Telecommunication, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), ministry of interior through its secretary, chief executives of the all telecommunication companies and inspector general Islamabad police seeking their reply over a petition against the non-registered mobile phone SIMs.

The petitioner G M Chaudhry advocate while in his writ petition before the IHC against issuance of non-registered mobile phone SIMS has contended that the telecom companies be charged as abettor in all criminal incidents wherein non-registered SIMs are used for commission of offence.

IHC CJ has directed the respondents to submit reply within 10 days time. Petitioner contended before the court that the crime rate has been manifold due to availability of non-registered SIMs as the telecom companies provide easy communication and mobility to criminal elements. Criminals are keeping multiple SIMs to contact their intending victims that is resulting in the incidents like extortion, kidnapping, abduction and other criminal activities. It is also contended that the chief executive officers (CEOs) of the concerned telecom companies be charged as abettors in all criminal incidents wherein non-registered SIMS were used for commission of offence.

G M Chaudhry contended before the court that the police authorities are unable to control criminal activities as they are not possessing latest equipment regarding SIM locations that is ‘mobile sim locator’ as well as call data recorders to known about exact position of the caller as well as record of calls from such SIM within reasonable time due to getting such facilities from other agencies. Petitioner prayed to the court that the federal government should provide such equipment to police authorities for control of criminal activities and protection and security of the citizens.

Petitioner adopted before the court that there were so many incidents when the petitioner was harassed and threatened through mobile telecommunication services, provided directly or indirectly by the respondents. The respondents failed to provide any information about any such person who committed such offence by taking the plea of secrecy and confidentiality whereas there is no concept of confidentiality or secrecy in the telecommunication laws about name and address of any user. That it is also noteworthy that prior to deregulation and privatisation of telecommunication services, there was no concept of secrecy and confidentiality of user or customer names as the erstwhile predecessor of all telephone services i.e. Telephone and Telegraph Department (T&T Department) and even the Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation (PTC) was regularly publishing telephone directory on yearly basis.

That the so-called and illegal veil of secrecy and confidentiality is imposed only to conceal criminal activities. Petitioner adopted that the respondents were duty bound to take care of interests of the user/customers and evolve a transparent policy for their protection as its is their legal obligations.

Referring to the news items published in the Daily Jang and The News, petitioner told the court that there are more than 4 million unknown/unregistered SIMs issued by the telecom companies.

Petitioner has prayed to the court to direct the respondents to formulate policy for the protection of citizens in the above said circumstances.

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