How To Trace an illegal International call?

We know that FIA and PTA have been busy these days raiding illegal VoIP exchanges. These exchanges illegally terminate international calls and then use cellular SIMs to deliver the call to end users. Please see following diagram to understand what actually happens through the whole process…!


So idea is very simple, If you get an International Call with Local Mobile/PTCL number, be informed that this is an illegal call

Why They do So? One may ask me that why do these people use gateways and internet to route traffic, what is benefit to these people, and my answer is that when a call comes through proper gateway (Pakistan’s international gateway), the caller will have to pay taxes and government dues. Moreover, at this point of time, VoIP is illegal in Pakistan, so in any case, its an illegal activity. (We won’t discuss here if VoIP should be legalized or not, but law is law)

What Should You do? Help the government by informing these numbers (local numbers from where you get calls) to us or FIA directly.

You can report these numbers to us through Contact Us page, or click this link for FIA’s contacts.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK

  • jo merzi kaho i would say that by the end of the day no one is gonna complaint b/c ppl r happy they get cheap intl. calls from abroad also our gov. is not in the favour of paki ppl ……. tax….. petrol……etc… pehle gov. sincere ho then ……….useless to discuss this politics….

  • میں تو کوئی کمپلین نہیں کروں گا بھئی
    ہم تو باہر کال کر نہیں سکتے
    اب اگر باہر سے ہی کال آ جائے تو ہم کہیں کہ “ہم نہیں بات کرتے”؟
    ایف آٗی اے کو بس کی ایہی کام رہ گیاہے؟
    پہلے ان مجرموں پر جو واقعی مجرم ہیں ان کی تو پکڑ کرے
    اربوں کھربوں والے معاف اور ۱۵أ۲۰ والی کال والے اندر
    واہ رے تمہاری منصفیاں

  • Well! you cannot block SKYPE coz SKYPE creates end to end VPN connection which is impossible to block.

    • Skype uses a proprietary Internet telephony (VoIP) network based on peer-to-peer architecture.

      Skype was the first peer-to-peer VoIP network, requiring minimal centralized infrastructure. The Skype user directory is decentralized and distributed among the clients, or nodes, in the network.

      The protocol has not been made publicly available by Skype and official applications using the protocol are closed-source.

  • voip call is very cheap.i call pakistan from dubai.if i call from Etisalat i have 2 pay more then Rs 50/min.but with voip i can call Rs 3/min.and i dont think any one can block voip etisalat bloked all voip services but still i can call.

    • Ho Jawad… can you please share how is it possible to make a voip call from UAE. perhaps it would be helpful for all of us

  • well..if VoIP illegal in pakistan then y not in USA n other countries?
    iz there any reason??

  • Dear Attaa Bahi

    As you described in step # 5 ,VOIP GateWay ,which transfer VOIP service to landline/cellular ,My point of View is that why PTCL/PTA cannot judge /catch/sniff from gateway such calls

    • Tahir, this gateway in point 5 is installed at private exchanges, not at PTCL exchanges. As soon as authorities are known to such exchanges, they raid it and of course take control of equipment and people working there.

      • dear aamir…internet which is use for grey trafficking is use by PTCL. They can’t catch its packets. PTA apply a rule, block that traffic which you can’t understand :p damn…ignorant people. block what you can’t understand. is this called technology, techniques, art.

  • why shud a pkaistani comlain…we’r not doing the illegal thing…its being done abroad so technically shudnt the action be taken against agenceies abroad who are routing calls to VoIP???

    • Abroad ppl originate the calls, while people in Pakistan terminate them and route them back to cellular networks – so Pakistanis working these things are equally involved

      • People in the abroad are doing this business openly. Why Pakistan FIA agents not going there and do a legal action against them. does Pakistan FIA have some power ? or it can do only within Pakistan.

  • Whatever!!! the thing is people need cheap calling rates, by hook or by crook they will use it no matter what happens…who cares!

    and one thing more, there are one thousand and one ways to call or better say route a call so that no body can sniff whether its a voip one or some regular call.

    Waqas Maqbool
    Manager IT
    Quality Jubail Resources

  • What is about to start happening to Telecom is exactly what happened to Railway Pakistan, PIA, Roads, Transport system etc etc. When a new technology make old technology obsolete, world moves forward proactively to next one. In our case, officials are bribed to stuck to past and we are stuck to old technology. Worldwide Telecom industry have realized call is finished and so are related revenues. So they have accepted it and have already plans how to earn revenue from new resources using NEW TECHNOLGY. But since our companies/Gov institutions are filled with big tond sifarshi tattoz and munshiz(finance ppl), they are stuck to old ways and old technologies. Now they are sleeping and one day they will realize, oh we are 100 years behind west.

  • People who are using these exchanges just need to make company and pay taxes. Otherwise if Telcos have guts, they need to fight within market principles rather than bribing Gov officials to keep people stuck to stone age.They have to pay for not innovating and going with the times and filling a tech industry with munshiz. Call is FREE. It is just like to make a law that cars should not be allowed because their are already Tangaz. If I would be in place of these VOIP operators, i would take PTA to supreme court. Why are they sticking to old technology? There is only one reason i can think of and that is PTA officials are being bribed by incumbents. Shame to PTA for saying VOIP illegal. Shows how incompetent they are.

  • People who are using these exchanges just need to make company and pay taxes. Otherwise if Telcos have guts, they need to fight within market principles rather than bribing Gov officials to keep people stuck to stone age.They have to pay for not innovating and going with the times and filling a tech industry with munshiz. Call is FREE. It is just like to make a law that cars should not be allowed because their are already Tangaz. If I would be in place of these VOIP operators, i would take PTA to supreme court. Why are they sticking to old technology? There is only one reason i can think of and that is PTA officials are being bribed by incumbents. Shame to PTA for saying VOIP illegal. Shows how incompetent they are.

  • This is a response to Aamir Attaa’s post on tracking illegal int’l calls…
    Aamir u said that VoIP is illegal in Pakistan… but the what would u call to those LDI companies???? for your info VoIP is legal if its done through proper channel..i.e. by getting operators license and all..
    u hav requested ppl to inform authorities if they receive such illegal calls… what do u think why they should do this… there loved ones who are far away and for sure are making a hard earned bucks.. why they will choose to have a expensive calls… kia woh loag mehnat nahi ker rahay??

    • @Rilly Billy: Yes that’s legal when you get LDI license, and only 13 entities have LDI license in Pakistan – other wise using VoIP is illegal, agree.

      On your other note, about why someone would report us such instances is not understandable, it is just like you are justifying an act which is in-expensive but at same time it is illegal.

      By the way, many of our readers reported such numbers (with secrecy).

      • Mr Amir,
        Why should we have to pay an arm and a leg to call to Pakistan?
        Why can’t we have cheaper landing costs so can call economically?
        Why do the poor hard earning Pakistani’s have to pay a lot of money to just call their family?
        Why the Pakistani govt not allow cheaper call rates so as to bring its people in closer contact with other people of the world?
        Why do we have to tax only those who leave Pakistan just to earn food for their loved ones back in Pakistan and bring back foreign exchange?


  • What is worth of PTA? Anybody please tell me, what value they are giving to economy? What kind of people would go to such an organization whose net product is ZERO? Offcourse KHASIZ. Since PTA doesnot produce anything, not even a service, it just burns monney from people’s taxes. No doubt it is only filled with incompetent since people before joining it, knows it dont produce anything, and therefore only lazy and incompetent people join such organizations. According to my understanding, incopmtetent people, whereever they are (in our sifarish society, they are everywhere) are highly insecure and highly counterproductive i.e. they will stop others to produce anything so that they are not reminded of their worthlessness and low life characters. In the end, my sympathies to all who born among this hell people.

  • Let me elaborate what Mr. Rilly Billy said. A VoIP call has three parts, the call origination, the switching and the call termination. All three components can be done by the same company/ entity or two or more different companies. Keep in mind that it is the origination and termination of VoIP calls which is always regulated, while the switching is almost always unregulated.

    Every country has its own rules of business in the telecom/IT sectors. US and Canade are quite liberal and allow almost any telecom product or service which the available technology can support with very few restrictions. Other countries like Pakistan have some restrictions on VoIP. Pakistan allows the termination of International VoIP calls by licenced operators but does not allow origination of International VoIP calls by any entity legally. The LDI opertaors are licenced by PTA to terminate international VoIP calls within Pakistan but they cannot originate them from Pakistan. There is a third category of countries which totally ban the termination or origination of any VoIP calls like UAE and Oman.

    Any VoIP operator either terminating or originating the calls falls under one of the two categories:
    1. White
    2. Grey
    If the opertaor is operating legally within the framework of the law and has a licence to provide VoIP services they are known as white opertors and their services are called white services or white routes. Incase the opertor is operating illegally without a licence they are called grey opertors and their services are called grey services or grey routes. White routes are more expensive then grey as the opertors have to pay the applicable duties and taxes. However on the plus side since they are legal and regulated by law, their service and the quality is much better than grey routes. Grey routes are typically fly-by-night operators and operate outside law. Since they are not regulated, their calls are dirt cheap but the quality of their service is generally poor with calls dropping and echoes being the norm.

    All what was discussed above was for International VoIP calls. The origination and termination of local/national (within Pakistan) calls is a grey area. It has not been explicitly banned. However since it is being done by many companies, and PTA has raised no objections, it can be implicitely assumed that it is allowed. Anyone interested in local/national VoIP calls should confirm with PTA. In most countries local/national calls are either allowed (even UAE) or not regulated.

    Technically speaking all voice chats over IM clients like MSN, Yahoo, Google Talk, Skype and others are illegal. However the investment and technology required to block them is prohibitively expensive and will get in the way or normal operations of the internet. Moreover PTA is a regulatory autority and does not enforce the laws itself. PTA would either ask the law enforcement guys or the ISPs to do it. The ISPs being commercial entities are not very interested in investing in an activity which will not generate any revenue for them.

    Hope this clears up VoIP for you guys

  • Still so funny. I can call you from Local number with no caller id. That is you have nothing to trace me!!

  • if ptcl really want to catch illegal gateways then……. Catch some Experts and place WireShark rofl!!

  • friendz, so many illegal GW X is working in PK, its the cheapest way and due to down siezing of jobs, all jobless telecomm Xperts are seeking short cut to run their bread and butter.

    PTA is trying not from now, they trying to stop it from a long time……Lets See What Happen ;)


    Muhammad Zafar Ameer
    Dy: G.M
    iNetwork LLC

  • VoIP is illegal cos the telecommunication companies pay millions of dollars in the license fee and the govt has to give out a guarantee that no one would bother them from business. worldcall gives VoIP DID numbers.
    now DID numbers are the direct inward dialing numbers, you can have an american local number ringing in pakistan and the caller would never know about it.
    for those calling pak from anywhere in the world the rates are from 4 cents a min to 7 cents a min, if the receiver sets up a DID Number the rate can go down from 4 cents a min to 1 cent a min. the line rent of the DID number would be from 1000 pak rupees to 2000 pak rupees. if the DID taken is of UK, then the calls from UK would be absolutely free and the caller would pay nothing due to the free UK Land Line calling.

  • i agreed most of you,

    yaar, asal prob , ye hai ky ghar Gov. ko Voip Block kerny or gray teleco sy $25 millions ka loss ho raha hai or mazy ki paat hai ky PTA & its allies Paid $ 40 Million to block VoIP traffic.

    Point is that why not Gov. think about if they will make it Lawful & open market it will create thousands of job & will help to economic boost up with proper VoIP Licensed Market.
    The Gov. will get more than 5 time or perhaps 10 time more revenue.

    Paksitan ki sochny ki kis ko pri hai, aghr Rahman Malik & Co. safe hands sy millions bana rahy hai ye ilzaam nai such hai, aghr koe VoIP biz sy intouch hai tu tasdeeq kry ga

    (in Punjabi ) PAKISTAN KHAPAY..KHAPAY……

    More than 120 countries VoIP is legal for public use but its being used all over the world.

    Some open examples are America Europe & very resent example is Indian VoIP market.

  • well, how to identify that the call we received from local number but actually from abroad is through white traffic or grey traffic when we have LDI operators operating legally…

  • why should we pay tax…so that its spend on________ ayashee…to h**l with govt, FIA, ISI and all those who dont care about ppl suffering for a single meal.

    [Comment Edited]

  • Stupid PTA working like donkeys and Smart FIA collecting money from the VOIP exchange runners .
    IF PTA really want to shut them down contact with Philippines Telecom they have the best solution in the world.
    In Philippines no one can run any VOIP Exchange without government permission.
    Actually Philippines is worst then Pakistan but they are smart and they know how to stop Illigal VOIP Business .
    Stupid Donkey PTA contact with Them and get the right solution.
    So Donkeys move your ass and help Pakistan to grow up !!!!
    For Mr AAMIR people from abroad they do not get cheap call , they have to pay as normal call , all the money goes to right and left pockets ,
    All the big carriers they pay penuts and keep all the money in their pockets , all the illegal voip exchange runner get bucks offcourese low when they convert into Pk money it becomes huge.
    this is directly loss by the caller and the govenmnet of Pakistan which is too poor. I hope some good people from the government will see this comments and do some think for the nation.

  • hahaha this is funny seriously….the ppl here are desperately trying to make the ends meet…crushed under heavy bills of electricity, petrol, high inflation….and the FIA seriously expects us to report “excuse me Mr. FIA my brother sitting abroad is able to call me often because of low rates! can you please make sure that i dont get to listen from him”

  • i love voip an grey calling i will never help losers, and why should i pay tax? all budget going to army and then they killing us with help of those taxes.

  • Why Paksitan not legelize VoIP…and I know some people who are doing this work, they are paying proper tax. Every people in Pakistan pay 50% Tax on a singal call. Who will caught them…FIA…Fuck FIA :p dont know the technology and power of technology.

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