PTA failed to block unregistered SIMs despite court orders
PESHAWAR: The use of three illegal SIMs in the terrorist attack on the Army Public School and College proved that despite the Peshawar High Court orders the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has failed to block such unregistered devices in the country.
As per the police investigation, three SIMs used in the attack on the Army Public School and College were registered in the name of people, reportedly a woman, from other parts of the country. The investigators claimed the attackers activated the SIMs in Landikotal tehsil in Khyber Agency on December 14.
The former chief justice of PHC Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, now a judge of the Supreme Court, had taken suo motu notice in 2013 of the use of illegal and unregistered SIMs and directed the PTA to close all illegal SIMs operated in Pakistan and also those from Afghanistan.
Known lawyer Noor Alam Khan, who deals with criminal cases, told The News that more than 90 percent illegal SIMs were used in kidnappings, extortions, bomb blasts and other terrorist activities.The general secretary of Peshawar High Court Bar Association (PHCBA), Muhammad Ayaz Khan, said both the PTA and the owners of cellular companies were responsible for the use of illegal SIMs in acts of terrorism. The PHC had also declared that cellphone companies would have to pay compensation equal to the “Diyat” amount to those killed in bomb explosions or any terrorist activity if their unregistered SIMs were used in the blasts. The cellular phone companies later challenged the court order and succeeded in getting it suspended.
The bench had directed the federal government to draft a bill to devise strict laws against the illegal sale of SIMs in the country. It had also directed the government to propose stringent laws against the violators to end the sale of unregistered and illegal SIMs.
Director General of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Abdul Samad had informed the bench at the time that the government had prepared and approved a policy against the illegal sale of SIMs. However, no legislation has been done towards that end.