Sale of SIM cards by shopkeepers banned
Ali Hazrat Bacha
PESHAWAR: Taking notice of the increasing cases of kidnapping for ransom and movement of suspected people in Peshawar, the district administration has banned the sale of SIM cards by shopkeepers and decided to start door-to-door checking of people living in rented houses in the provincial metropolis.
The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by district coordination officer Siraj Ahmed here on Saturday. Officials of different relevant departments, including police and intelligences agencies, attended the meeting.
After noting suggestions of the participants, the DCO under Section 144 of the CrPC banned the sale of SIM cards by shopkeepers, especially in the Karakhano market. He said that only the relevant franchises were authorised to sell the SIMs.
“We have taken the decision in compulsion in order to stop the massive spread of the unregistered SIMs, as the criminal people are buying and using them for illegal activities and there is no record to arrest them,” the DCO told Dawn following the meeting.
He said that property dealers and building owners had also been asked to stop renting out houses, shops and other buildings to people without producing complete information about them to the local police. Otherwise the concerned property dealer and local SHO would be responsible if the people were found involved in any illegal activity, he said.
The DCO said that the house-to-house search would be launched soon from the posh locality of Hayatabad to check the basements in the buildings as in the past many people had been recovered from the area.
Mr Ahmed said that owners of the franchises had been asked to issue SIM cards on production of original computerised national identity cards only and nobody could use the CNICs of others for the purpose.
Similarly, a special desk would be established at the police control room to collect information about people who disappears all of a sudden and convey the same to the relevant authorities for immediate action, he said.
The decision, he said, was aimed at controlling street crimes such as snatching of mobile phone sets, cash and valuables from people. He said that many suspected people belonging to the tribal regions had reportedly shifted to Peshawar due to the military operations there and the only solution to arrest them was to search them in different congested localities in the district.
“We also have reports that in Karkhano Market the dealers were openly selling the SIM cards without keeping record of the CNICs of the buyers and kidnappers are misusing such SIMs for demanding the ransom money,” the DCO said. He said that in most of the kidnapping cases the people avoided informing police and would strike deal with kidnappers for fear of reprisal.
He asked the business community, journalists and civil society to create awareness among people at least to report the cases to police. He said that the police were duty-bound to register and investigate the cases in this regard.