SIM cards — File Photo
SIM cards — File Photo

RAWALPINDI, Oct 24: The Punjab home department has directed the divisional police chiefs across the province to launch a crackdown against illegal sale of mobile phone SIMs (subscriber identity modules).

The move came after Sargodha police launched a crackdown against illegal sale of SIMs. During the campaign it was learnt that illegal sale of SIMs was being carried out in connivance with ‘black sheep’ in the telecommunication sector. Personal data was obtained from voters’ lists of the Election Commission to activate SIMs. Copies of national identity cards provided by customers to the outlets or franchises of mobile phone services were also being used by franchise owners for activation and sale of SIMs.

In the light of information obtained by police during raids, Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif was informed that illegally sold SIMs could be used by terrorists and criminals.

A source said it was recommended that the cases related to the police crackdown against illegal sale of SIMs might be taken up with the federal government (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and other departments concerned) to make the activation process stricter to curb illegal sale of SIMs.

The source said the provincial home department had asked the additional inspectors general of Special Branch and the officials of counter-terrorism department and intelligence agencies to take measures to check illegal sale of SIMs.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that SIMs registered on fake identity cards will be blocked because thousands of SIMs are being sold on such cards.

Israr Abbasi, SSP operation, said no crackdown had been planned as yet to arrest people using illegal SIMs or franchisers selling them. “Police department cannot check illegal sale of SIMs because it has no such technology. Police can only assist the telecommunication department if it traces the users of illegal SIMs and wants them arrested.”

He said there were hundreds of SIMs registered on fake identity cards and more than one SIM obtained on a single ID card were being used by people. When such SIMs were seized by police, he said, sometimes innocent people had to face problems because of police investigation.

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Comments (2)

Imran
October 25, 2012 10:21 pm
I remember mentioning sometime back that we do not need 'smart CNIC'. Reason being that our data cannot be protected from these 'black sheep'. The smart CNIC contains more than just address and name, i think it contains pension details as well (apologies if i am incorrect on this). This should be a cause for concern as all the departments look toward the NADRA centralized database for citizen details. Although NADRA may have employed electronic security procedures BUT who is to take surety of staff members from their and other departments.. Who are these so called 'black sheep'. Please name them. It is indeed a shame that such advance systems are dis-credited by the actions of these black sheep.
Asif Malik
October 26, 2012 12:17 pm
How is it that the Sagodha police were the only smart ones in the whole province to get to the culprits if any. These SIMs are being sold throughout the country. The disgruntled franchisee in Sargodha never bothered to report what was considered to be a normal happening anywhere because he was making money out of this business. Reportedly he is related to some high up in the police which made them take this action. Now reporting this as he was being disenfranchised due to some illegal practices. He is as much a culprit as the police can easily investigate his past illegal practices. Otherwise people have to go through a lot of trouble in lodging a simple FIR. You find it easy if connected. God bless us.
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