ISLAMABAD (SPECIAL REPORT)
Pakistan Telecom Authority was the venue of a high level meeting pertaining to biometric system for sale of mobile phone SIMs. This meeting was held without authorization and mandate since both Chairman and members of PTA have not nominated yet. Legality of Such meetings is questionable as they are only convened or held with permission Chairman or concerned members of Pakistan Telecom Authority.
According to Telecom Act 1996 it is quite coherently clear that the DG PTA cannot organize or convene such meetings where SEVP of foremost cellular companies are invited.
Recently Sind High Court had issued orders to the concerned parties to start work on creating biometric system for mobile phone SIMs throughout Pakistan. Warid and Telenor approached Supreme Court against Sind High Court decision. Supreme Court accepted the said petition and issued notices to PTA and concerned authorities. Soon after Ufone approached the Supreme Court on same issue. Cellular companies are complaining that the Biometric system is intricate and complex and needs further work and evaluation before it can be placed all over Pakistan. They belief that since more work and effort is needed the Sind High Court orders should not be implemented yet.
In these circumstances the DG enforcement PTA is in temporary position and doesn’t have the authority or mandate to work on this matter. It should be pointed out that cases such as these should not be discussed at any level of Government till the decision has been issued by the courts. This is the stance taken by cellular companies and they complained to the DG Enforcement PTA as to why he is calling these meetings.
In April,2013 there was a similar meeting in which Pakistan Telecom Authority and Minister of Interior representatives were not present. Both are pertinent to Biometric system and their presence is mandatory. A committee was made that entailed Information Technolgy, NADRA, Cellular companies and Ministry of Interior during the regime of PPP.