Phone firms agree to verify 100 million unverified SIMs in three months | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Phone firms agree to verify 100 million unverified SIMs in three months

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: The mobile phone companies have finally agreed to verify 100 million unverified SIMs (subscriber identity modules) in 90 days.

Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was informed during a meeting here on Friday that of the 140m unverified SIMs, 40m have been verified so far. And an agreement has been reached with the companies for verification of the remaining SIMs in three months.

Take a look: Stakeholders struggling to decide on SIMs’ re-verification

The minister made it clear that after 90 days no leniency would be shown to the users of illegal SIMs and companies issuing such SIMs.

To check any wrongdoing in future, he said, the government was working on a proposed law to declare issuance and use of illegal SIMs as a cognizable offence.

The meeting noted that a large number of illegal SIMs were posing a serious security hazard and also causing huge loss to the national exchequer.

It was told that intelligence agencies had identified a few seminaries having links with terrorist organisations. A three-tier scrutiny by the centre and the provinces would precede the next course of action.

The process of identification of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) affiliates and sleeper cells had begun, the meeting was informed. Punjab had so far identified 95 suspects having links with terrorist organisations and efforts were being made to arrest them.

It was told that 500 to 600 hoax calls were being received on the counter-terrorism toll-free helpline number on a daily basis. The calls put additional burden on the system and hampered identification of genuine calls.

Punjab has registered 7,000 Afghan refugees through biometric verification system and a similar exercise is awaited in the other provinces. In the next stage, the refugees will be moved back to their camps and later a scheme will be devised for their repatriation to Afghanistan with dignity and honour.

The meeting was informed that over 2,000 suspects had been arrested so far during the countrywide combing and search operations.

It discussed the idea of establishment of an integrated directorate of internal security supported and complemented by joint intelligence directorate and having representatives of all intelligence agencies of the country.

The meeting was attended by the National Counter-Terrorism Authority’s National Director Hamid Ali Khan and senior officials of the interior ministry.

Daily Dawn