The federal government, at the request of the Punjab government, has decided to give Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) independent access to telecom data in order to counter terrorism, documents available with The News have revealed.
This was decided in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at Model Town a couple of weeks back. The meeting was attended by chief secretary Punjab, IGP Punjab, additional secretary to PM and home secretary Punjab.
In this regard the Prime Minister Office Islamabad through a letter conveyed to the Punjab government that the prime minister had accepted in principle the request of the Punjab government regarding giving CTD independent access to telecom data.The PM also accepted the request regarding providing the CTD direct access to the database of Nadra.
However, Additional Secretary to the PM Fawad Hassan Fawad would prepare the case for independent access to telecom data and direct access to Nadra database. He would put up the cases to PM Nawaz Sharif for his formal approval.
The meeting was informed that the CTD was established to counter terrorism in the province. However, CTD has to face difficulties in tracing out culprits since it has no facility of direct access to the telecom data and Nadra database. If the CTD requires any information about a caller, it has to submit a request to Intelligence Bureau which takes much time.
In order to improve the efficiency of the CTD and tracing and catching the culprits as quickly as possible, the CTD should be given independent access to the telecom data and Nadra database. While agreeing the point of view of the Punjab government, the prime minister accepted its request.
In the meeting it has also been discussed that the counter terrorism laws like TADA and POTA be examined for necessary amendments in anti-terrorism laws in the country. Furthermore the PM also directed CTD to propose a functional model of counter terrorism.
Sources in the Home Department Punjab said the Punjab government was trying to get direct access for call tracing system for last few years. However, some influential institutions opposed it and this facility remained with the federal institutions. The Punjab government would purchase call tracing equipments after the approval of federal government regarding giving direct access to the CTD to the telecom data.
When contacted Chief Secretary Punjab Javed Aslam said the summary was submitted to the PM and the federal government has given approval regarding allowing the CTD direct access to the telecom data and Nadra database. Furthermore the CTD is collecting data independently on case to case basis, he maintained.