Pakistan’s Telecommunication Authority has asked the government to pass a new law and permit imprisonment for up to 49 years for handling stolen mobile phones. The regulator has been trying to scale down, or even eleminate incidents of stolen mobile phone activities throughout the country.
“On approval of the suggested amendments the accused could be sentenced 49 years imprisonment, or with fine which may extend to ten million rupees [US$125,000] or with both,” Chairman PTA Dr. Muhammad Yasin told a Sub-Committee of Senate Standing Committee on Interior.
The Chairman also confirmed that the operators will stop dispatching pre-activated PrePay SIM cards to dealers before the end of this year. In future, all SIM cards sold will need to be activated after the sale, and only upon provision of the necessary proofs of identity.
Pakistan’s telecoms regulator said in October that it had blocked some 10.5 million SIM cards after their users failed to register their ownership details with the mobile operators. Dr. Yaseen expressed at the time some concerns that many retailers were still flouting the rules requiring proof of id before selling new SIMs.