By Ahmed Rayyan
Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik is in action against cellular operators and directed them to come up with a new business solution in 15 days to post SIM (Subscribers Identity Modules) on buyers address.
He expressed his concern over the selling of pre-activated SIMs in the market and warned operators stop doing it at any cost to avoid terrorist executing their activities in the country.
Mr Rehman was briefing the media following a meeting on the incidents of targeted killings with provincial top brass of the Sindh.
He asked all mobile phone companies to ensure SIM registration with Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) number of subscribers.
“I am telling all cellular operators stop selling out pre-activated SIMs and do make it mandatory for its buyers to get registered SIMs identity with National Registration Database Authority (Nadra),” he said.
I was told by my intelligence that 50 SIMs are issued on single CNIC; it should be stopped because SIMs could be bought with the registration of stolen CNIC, he added.
It merits mentioning here that Rehman Malik has issued similar statements before, which are never materialized.
Cellular Operators Viewpoint
Reacted strongly on his statement, cellular operators’ officials said selling SIMs is systematic process dealt by franchises and retailers of the company.
The selling SIMs on post is a unique idea to be considered as mere statement because it is an organized chain of business not to be taken place by postal services. The SIMs registration process is done through proper system established last year in conjunction with Nadra.
Government is crazy to issue deadlines to cellular operators because it utterly neglects the technical issues of the system. Recently provincial authorities issued 15-day deadline to all cellular operators, asking them to switch over their electricity supply to cell sites from solar energy.
A couple of days later, they had taken back their deadlines after subsequent intervention of Ministry of IT and Telecom on the request of operators. Mr Rehman Malik has earlier threatened many times to block SIMs used to send SMS for “negative purpose” (carrying insulting and funny jokes on Zardari). But PTA denied following his directives because it was beyond of their authority.