Re-verification. SIMs issued to Afghan nationals is still not solved.

ISLAMABAD ( ABRAR MUSTAFA )

With SIM re-verification process completed, it has been revealed to media today that the case of SIMs issued to Afghan nationals is still not solved. This was stated by PTA Chairman Dr. Ismail Shah today at a training workshop in PTA headquarters Islamabad.

It is curious to know that around 1.2 Million Afghans are living in the country who have registered with United Nation Commission For Refugee (UNCR) but no bio- metric verification of their SIMs have been done. The reason for this is that these refugees are registered by UNCR which meant that their data was with the international body.  This record has now been shared with NADRA which will soon start to verify the SIMs through bio metric system.

Shah also informed the journalists that by 2025 there would be need of about two billion SIMs of all mobile operators and the government is properly planning for it. In this regard, the system has been upgraded and localisation of data storage is all under consideration. These SIMs might be used in power and water metres and other utility services, the chairman maintained.

Shah said that after biometric verification the total number of active verified SIMs would reach 108 million by April 12, however, about .2 million blocked or unverified SIMs were being verified on daily bases. In this way, he said the number of verified SIMs would rise with the increase in the verification process.

Earlier, PTA Director Consumer Protection Nabiha Mehmood told journalists that it is mandatory for the authority to protect consumer interests and ensure the redressal of consumer complaints against telecom licensees through effective regulatory framework. However, she said that resolving complaints and satisfying the users of the telecom services is primarily the responsibility of the service provider. If the consumers’ complaints could not be addressed by the service providers, then the PTA may be approached for intervention.

She further said that the PTA strongly believes that the key to consumer activism is through creating awareness among the consumers regarding their telecom rights as well as knowledge about the service contract and procedures to lodge complaints. There is a complete complaint handling mechanism at PTA and the consumers are already availing this facility.

PTA Enforcement Division Director General Yawar Yasin said ‘Enforcement’ is one of the major divisions of PTA with the main task to ensure licence compliance. He said the PTA also took effective measures to discourage grey traffic. Such traffic bypasses the legal route to avoid taxes, which can be termed as smuggling of telecom traffic that causes loss to the national exchequer.

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