THE discovery of 5,000 illegal SIMs held by a recently apprehended terrorist in Karachi, should not have come as a rude surprise to the Sindh Assembly.
It is for such occasions that poet Mir Taqi Mir wrote his famous couplet: ‘Jaane na jaane gul hi na jaane baagh to sara jaane hai’.
One must also appreciate the Sindh information minister, who used this opportunity to confess that he too had seven illegal SIMs on his name, while he physically possessed only one.
Known for its penchant for passing laws, an earlier law passed by the Sindh Assembly says: “Every child of the age of five to 16 years shall have a fundamental right to free and compulsory education.” It only resulted in worsening what little was left of schooling in Sindh. Thus the resolution passed by the Sindh Assembly on May 5 to ban all illegal SIMs could only be taken with a pinch of salt.
All that the government needs to do is announce that all SIMs would stand blocked beyond a certain date unless they are registered through a process that is traceable to an individual, CNIC, biometric impressions, and complete postal address.
The number of SIMs per person should be limited to two and could be extended up to five on producing the annual tax return. The roaming facility for Afghan and South African SIMs be terminated and the telecommunication companies that fail to comply with any of these instructions be heavily fined and their executives made to face criminal charges.
The PTA should manage a national IMEI database and announce a single phone number on which all phone thefts can be reported. Finally, the PTA must undergo ‘guts transplant’ surgery so as to be in a position to ensure that the telecommunication companies immediately block both the IMEI and the SIM when a phone theft is reported.