ISLAMABAD (MEDIA): National Assembly was assured of the government action against illegal cell phone SIMs of Afghanistan being used for criminal activities in Pakistan.“PTA has no system to stop signals for such SIMs. However, other administrative measures will be ensured to stop the illegal activity” Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Aftab Sheikh told the House responding to a calling attention notice.Members Naeema Kishwar Khan, Shahida Akhter Ali and Aliya Kamran had drawn the attention of the Minister towards sale of cell phone SIMs of Afghanistan in open market in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa being used for kidnapping for ransom, extortion and other crimes.
The members also questioned about the ability of the telecom institutions to stop signals for such SIMs and other measures to stop this illegal practice.
In response the minister admitted that due to porous border phone SIMs of Afghanistan are transferred to KPK and used in carrying out criminal activities.
“No doubt that these SIMs have resulted in increase in crime. Terrorist both in Pakistan and Afghanistan are using these SIMs to fulfill their ulterior motives”, Sheikh said.
When asked about capacity of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to interrupt signals, the minister said, PTA does not have capacity to stop signals. However, administrative measures can be taken and the government will ask the Afghanistan and KPK governments to take action against use of such SIMs.
He said in 2011 it was revealed at a meeting in Interior Ministry that signals were being received from India and Afghanistan through illegal SIMs. But, stopping these signals was not possible due to lack of PTA’s capacity.
The minister also emphasized on dialogue between Pakistan and Afghan government as well as the KPK government to take collective effective measures.
He also admitted that use of these illegal SIMs had resulted in deterioration of law and order and crimes.