LAHORE, Aug 29: After banning the night packages offered by the cellular mobile operators (CMOs) on ‘moral grounds’ about a year ago, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has also directed them to wind up the existing such incentives even in day times.

The PTA, which has been functioning without a head for several months, issued the directive on the base of its recent survey in this regard.

The PTA has noted that the packages offered by the CMOs are “contrary to the moral values of society” and its directive in this respect issued last November is being violated.

“The survey reveals that the packages (voice and SMS) are still operational under different names. Subject violation of the PTA directive is noted with concern. Keeping in view the foregoing, all CMOs are again directed to stop all kinds of chat packages (voice and SMS) immediately irrespective of ‘time of the day’ and submit compliance by Sept 2 positively,” says a PTA directive issued here on Thursday.

The cellular companies have strongly reacted to it, saying ban on day packages is beyond one’s comprehension. “Earlier night packages and now day packages are banned and who knows what else is banned tomorrow in the name of ‘morality’,” comments a CMO official.

He says the CMOs had introduced night packages primarily to facilitate the consumers and utilise its network which usually does not have much load during the time.

“The PTA had banned voice/SMS night packages so that the youth should not indulge in chatting. Now banning the same in day time will affect the consumers of all age,” he says.

A large number of people are availing themselves of the facility of friends\family packages. “One wonders how these are ‘contrary to the moral values of our society. On the demand of a ‘certain group’ the night and day packages are banned. YouTube is already banned. This group of people may demand ban on Facebook and social media as these are also considered by many in our society as ‘instrumental in spreading obscenity,’” he said.

Cellular companies complain that such a step will curtail their revenues as consumers of low income group will face the brunt of the PTA decision.

The PML-N government in its first federal budget has already increased tax rate on cell phone calls.

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