Minister for Interior Rahman Malik – File photo by AFP
Minister for Interior Rahman Malik – File photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who had given the deadline of Dec 31 to cellphone service providers to block unregistered Sims, said on Thursday the prime minister had given an extension of three months to the cellular companies but had not scrapped the plan.

He said the prime minister extended the deadline on the request made by representatives of the cellular companies.

Talking to Dawn, the minister said: “Raja sahib is the chief executive of the country and he can take any decision but I am happy that he did not scrap the plan of interior ministry.

“Rather, he gave a three-month extension in the deadline to the cellular companies.”

He said the mobile phone operators could scrutinise data of their subscribers and ensure that no unregistered Sim remained operational during the three-month extension.

On Nov 8, the interior minister had said that no-one would be allowed to use satellite phones without registering them with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

The authority had been given the deadline of Dec 31 for registering prepaid Sims and Mr Malik had declared that all unregistered Sims would be blocked after the deadline.

Under the interior ministry’s plan, Sim number portability (switching from one network to another) was to be banned, but the prime minister removed the restriction.

The interior minister said he could not attend Thursday’s meeting between representatives of the cellular companies and the prime minister because he was indisposed.

He said the prime minister apprised him of the decision by telephone.

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