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Eight held for issuing SIMs to APS ‘attackers’

Updated January 25, 2015

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A view of detained persons held at an undisclosed location in Pakistan. - Reuters/file
A view of detained persons held at an undisclosed location in Pakistan. - Reuters/file

LAHORE: CIA police on Saturday arrested eight employees of a franchise of a leading cellular company for allegedly selling ‘illegal’ SIMs to the suspects involved in the Peshawar carnage.

A police official told Dawn that the raiding team also recovered from them over 200 SIMs which were being misused in different areas of the country.

The SIMs Taliban had used during communicating with their handler in Afghanistan were purchased from a franchise of Hasilpur tehsil, Bahawalpur.

Read: Militant siege of Peshawar school ends, 141 killed

The arrested staffers have been identified as franchise owner Kashif Zia, Ateequr Rehman, Azam Kazmi, Mubashir Rizwan, Rehman Ali, Zahid and Sajjad.

Another official said the SIMs used by the terrorists in Peshawar school attack were registered in the name of a Lahore-based bakery worker, Rehman Ali, and a woman from Hasilpur. He said the SIMs were purchased from a general store of two brothers -- Sajjad and Zahid -- located in Hasilpur.

Also read| Peshawar attack probe: Four suspects, including woman, arrested in Bahawalpur

He said the two brothers were in police custody and confessed their links with the militants.

He said franchise manager Rehman confessed that he was meeting the target assigned to him by the franchise owner. The manager also confessed that he was only issuing double SIMs on one thumb impression and was giving one SIM to the customer and keeping the other for retailers to earn Rs5,000 per day.

Also read: Woman, mobile franchise dealer freed

Police arrested the suspects on the information of the arrested manager of the franchise.

A senior police official said all the suspects were employees of a leading cellular company franchise and they were issuing SIMs without verification of the customers.

He said the customers even did not know that SIMs were registered in their name.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2015

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