Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) in violation of the Prime Minister’s (PM) orders has allowed the sale of mobile SIMs through retailers and validation of the consumer identity through ID card barcode.
According to the documents received by this correspondent, PTA Director General Enforcement issued a clarification on 18 January about its 6 December official directive. The directive was based on PM’s meeting with top officials of mobile companies on 29 November.
In the original official notification of 6 December, biometric identification of the consumer was made a compulsion and cellular mobile operators were allowed to sell the cellular SIMs only through customer support centers and franchises. While the clarification issued recently allows the cellular companies to sell the SIMs through retailers and to establish the identity of consumer through ID card barcode.
PTA has issued these clarifications after six weeks of issuance of official notification, when the position of Chairman Telecom is vacant.
PTA officials have already conveyed their strong reservation against the amendments in the original notification to ministry of telecom and information, additional secretary cabinet division and principal secretary to PM.
They have contended in their letter that without the use of biometric system, SIMs can be misused and easily issued on the ID card of deceased or person living abroad.
Member Finance Nasrul Karim Ghaznavi told this correspondent that they have not exceeded their authority and they have only issued clarification based on the decisions taken in a meeting with PM on 29 December.
He further said that he issued the clarification after discussing it with Additional Secretary Telecom Ministry.
Telecom Ministry’s Member justice and spokesman Kamran Ali said that any order cannot be issued without the approval of a Chairman.