LAHORE: Biometric verification of SIMs has become a daunting task for many as they are told by the staff at cellular companies’ outlets that they should go to the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) because their identification is not verified through their thumb impression.

A good number of subscribers have to face the ordeal every day as they are advised by the cellular companies to visit Nadra for removal of discrepancy.

“I have spent a couple of hours at the outlet of a telecom operator for biometric verification of SIMs issued in my name. On my turn, I was told to visit a Nadra office as my thumb impression was not matching. I rushed to a Nadra office on College Road, Township, where I found a long queue. When I reached the counter after a considerable time, the official manning it told me that as my thumb impression was not matching, I should better apply for a new computerised national identity card (CNIC) to be rid of the problem once for all,” Navid Ahmed told Dawn.

Nadra is already charging Rs10 for each biometric SIM verification from the cellular companies. The companies, on the other hand, are charging the same (Rs10) from each subscriber for the purpose.

According to an official, Nadra centres are witnessing at least 30 to 40 percent more rush because of the people turning up for their thumb impression matching. “We only ask those to apply for new CNIC whose cards are about to expire. In other cases in which people are approaching Nadra for matching their thumb impression for SIM verifications we don’t charge,” the official said.

The government has set April 13 deadline for the telecom operators to check some 103 million pre-paid SIMs through Biometric Verification System (BVS). The operators have asked the subscribers to have their pre-paid SIMs verified till Feb 26.

Since the companies have so far verified around 40 million SIMs through BVS, it is likely to extend the date.

Published in Dawn February 16th , 2015

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