Telenor and Mobilink relectent to support National Security Action Plan.

ISLAMABAD ( ABRAR MUSTAFA )

The PTA had  called a meeting today  of all the Telecom companies to review  the possibility of permanently destroyed  all the unverified and dishoned SIMS. Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority clearly announced that all un-verified and blocked MSISDNs shall be removed from the CNICs by 10th Julay 2015 except those registered/informed by overseas Pakistanis. He also clear all telecoms that resultant only BVS verified data shall be uploaded at PMD by 13th Julay 2015 and a copy shall  also be provided to PTA accordingly as per formate in vogue.

According to source , three of the Telcos; Ufone, Zong and Warid have agreed to destroy  all those unverified  SIMs. However, the other two companies; Telenor and Mobilink are showing reluctance, because they intend to retain those SIM connections in a blocked state. This way, the SIMs can be re-activated in future in this unreasonable demand we are seeing a major threat on National security and must be imagine  Mobilink and Telenor are major  supporters of terrorism, Chairman PTA instructed to all companies to follow the instruction and destroy the record with immediate effect and revert  but both companies are still to show their concern.

Earlier  PTA had last month called a meeting of all the Telecom companies to discuss the possibility of permanently destroyed  all the unverified and dishoned SIMS.  According to source , three of the Telcos; Ufone, Zong and Warid have agreed to destroy  all those unverified  SIMs. However, the other two companies; Telenor and Mobilink are showing reluctance, because they intend to retain those SIM connections in a blocked state. This way, the SIMs can be re-activated in future in this unreasonable demand we are seeing a major threat on National security and must be imagine  Mobilink and Telenor are major  supporters of terrorism, Chairman PTA is in a very miserable position he wants to destroy the record but both companies are not in favour.

Over the past one year, the government of Pakistan and the cellular service companies have reiterated their commitment towards national security. All stakeholders are on the same page and agreed on initiating a nationwide process of biometric verification of all cellular SIMs. Telecom companies want to make a clear impression about their intentions and efforts for ensuring national security and verification of data, and to make sure that the blame for facilitating terrorism due to unverified SIMs is put to an ultimate end.

Previously, the re-verification of SIMS seemed to be nearly impossible. However, the national action-plan for countering terrorism initiated a SIM verification campaign, and fortunately, it has been successfully completed with the assistance of NADRA and the stakeholders. Moreover, the support provided by the people of Pakistan made this initiative a regulatory success, as the common citizen considered it a national duty to participate in the re-verification process.

PTA and Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) took concrete measures during this activity which not only ensured the process to be smooth and transparent but also facilitated the general public. Extensive awareness campaigns were executed through SMS, electronic (TV & Radio), print and digital media. In addition, special facilities were offered to facilitate the elderly, disabled and overseas Pakistanis in the verification process.

The chairman PTA affirmed that 75.5 million SIMs have been re-verified and 27.5 million SIMs have been blocked after complete verification of the data. He further claimed that these blocked SIMs can only be activated through biometric verification. In the past, Telcos had issued multiple SIMs to customers on a single CNIC. Hence, after the completion of SIM re-verification process, PTA and Telcos have agreed to limit the number of SIMs registered on a single CNIC.

The final deadline to block all the unverified SIMs was 12tth April 2015. However, a certain category of SIMs was allowed by the government to operate beyond this date i.e. one SIM per CNIC which has been in continuous use over the last two years. The final deadline for the last category of SIMs was 15th May 2015. After the deadline CMOs were obliged to block all the unverified SIMs.  Still, the blocked SIMs can be unblocked in case the owner comes for a biometric verification.

The final figures show that out of 103 million active SIMs, 75.5 million SIMs were re-verified and 27.5 million SIMs have been blocked. After the conclusion of this major milestone, PTA has been directed to execute a third party audit of this entire exercise to measure its authenticity. It is believed that this prudent initiative to reduce the complexity of the telecommunications industry data will have positive effects in ensuring the safety and National Security of Pakistan.

After long process now we are in position to support the national security but Mobilink and Telenor are main hurdles in this process and we must say both companies have agenda behind said demand because rest telecom companies in same page and want to destroy the unverified sims.

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