Cabinet settles on deadline for illegally imported phones

Published November 24, 2018
.— Photo courtesy Customs CMO
.— Photo courtesy Customs CMO

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Friday set the deadline of Dec 31 for blocking all new mobile phones being brought into the country through illegal means.

The forum also decided that Prime Minister Imran Khan will open the Pakistan-India Kartarpur border in a ceremony to be held on Nov 28.

The cabinet meeting, presided over by the prime minister, strongly condemned Friday’s terrorist attacks in the country — one outside the Chinese consulate in Karachi and the second near Hangu.

Information minister says PM will open Kartarpur border crossing on 28th

“The cabinet decided to impose a ban on new mobile phones to be smuggled into the country after Dec 31,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said in a press conference. He exp­lain­ed that mobile phones that have already been brought into the country before the deadline, even through illegal means, can be used, but after Dec 31 no such sets will be allowed to be operational. The minister said the cabinet has also decided to promote the local mobile phone industry and therefore a ban could be imposed on even the import of mobile phones in the next phase.

According to Mr Chaudhry, as per the government’s record around 82 million mobile phones were imported through legal channels every year and 2.5 billion mobile phones were smuggled into the country per year. “We have to control this trend,” he explained, adding that the sale of second-hand mobile phones was completely banned in the country but the sale-purchase of used mobile phones was being carried out freely. “The federal cabinet has decided to take strict action against this business,” he reiterated.

Kartarpur border

The information minister said that PM Khan will, in a grand ceremony, formally open the Kartarpur (at Narowal) border crossing between Pakistan and India on Nov 28.

He explained that the border crossing was being opened on the demand of Sikh pilgrims who visit Pakistan every year in large numbers to perform religious rituals in Kartarpur and other parts of the country. “Following the opening of the border, there will be free entry for Sikh pilgrims,” he promised, adding that besides former Indian cricket star Navjot Singh Sidhu, a group of Indian journalists would also be coming to attend the border-opening ceremony.

The minister maintained that the border crossing was being opened under a peace initiative taken by PM Khan. “It will be a permanent opening, and further details [in this regard] are being finalised,” he said.

The minister said that the government believed that once sour relations between Pakistan and India were normalised, this would benefit Pakistan because the country is located between two international markets and could obtain economic adva­ntages. He qualified, however, that in the absence of a settlement on the Kashmir issue, relations between the two sides would remain tense. “We cannot forget the Kashmir issue because it is an important part of our policies,” he explained.

Responding to a question regarding the regularisation of PM Khan’s house at Banigala, the minister said the house was constructed 30 years ago under the then laws, and therefore there was no need for any regularisation.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2018

Now you can follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

The whole truth
28 Sep, 2022

The whole truth

THE war on truth has never been more relentless than it is today. Authoritarianism is on the rise and purveyors of...
Real-world trolls
Updated 28 Sep, 2022

Real-world trolls

It's reprehensible how PTI supporters now seem convinced that politicians from opposing camps aren't entitled to basic dignity.
Islamabad wildlife
28 Sep, 2022

Islamabad wildlife

PRESERVING biodiversity is low on the list of priorities of both state and society. However, successful attempts at...
Noon leaks
Updated 27 Sep, 2022

Noon leaks

PMO audio leaks are a national security emergency that ought to be investigated at the highest level.
Cipher probe offer
27 Sep, 2022

Cipher probe offer

CONSIDERING the toxic political polarisation in the country, former prime minister Imran Khan’s suggestion that ...
Delaying Doha plans
27 Sep, 2022

Delaying Doha plans

WHEN Doha announced its intention to spend $3bn in different commercial and investment sectors of Pakistan around a...