Issue Only One SIM per One CNIC: Rahman Malik

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Rahman-Malik-07173Few days ago Mr. Rehman Malik, Federal Minister for Interior, emphasized the blockade of un-verified SIMs and and handsets carrying same IMEIs. We took it as another but usual political statement and went on.

However, in a latest development, things have gone serious. We are told that Mr. Malik  has met the high-ups of all cellular companies yesterday.

Reportedly, Chairman PTA, Provincial Home Secretaries, Federal Secretary Interior, Chief Commissioner and IGP Islamabad and representatives of intelligence agencies and FIA were also present in the meeting.

Here’s the crux of Mr. Malik’s desires:

  • Issue one SIM card against one CNIC (and block all other SIMs)
  • All prepaid Sims should be verified with in 30 days.
  • SMS with IMEI numbers need to be synchronized with the help of service provider and NADRA.Service provider will send the detail of tempered numbers through SMS to the consumer.
  • The Minister asked the entire service provider to identify all those consumers holding the sets with duplicate/multiple IMEI against one SIM within 10 days and inform the consumer accordingly.
  • All the cellular companies are to advise their contract customers to re-verify their IDs/SIMs again
  • No body will be able to import mobile phone without authorization of PTA.PTA will issues license of importing phones after doing due diligence.
  • PTA will issue standards/specifications of cellular phone to be imported.
  • The importers have to submit specifications, IMEI number of cellular phones and sets to PTA before getting import license. FBR has been advised not clear any consignment without PTA authorization.

Clearly, these are not a realistic demands, especially the one SIM per one CNIC issue. One this is sure that cellular companies are not happy about it. In fact they don’t want to implement it at all, which makes sense, as Mr. Malik’s this strange desire has surfaced when cellular companies have over 100 million customers.

Cellular companies do understand the national security concerns, but they said such regulations were to be made 10 years ago – and not now.

Cellular companies straight away have shown their reservations and proposed a meeting where the experts and technical personnel from interior ministry and telecom companies should be invited to discuss on the alternative to this issue.

If this order is put into practice large number of subscribers (as high as 40-45 million) may go away. Chances are, that cellular companies may reach out to court in case if it happens!

Who is responsible for this:

No doubt that the issue of un-verified SIMs is a dilemma that has engulfed Pakistani cellular industry for years now. It should get resolved – but not by the procedures Mr. Malik has proposed.

Before victimizing the cellular companies and asking them to block millions of their customers, Mr. Malik should have thought for a second that why the situation has reached this far. Minister should have looked into PTA and Government of Pakistan’s role for not introducing a systematic, flawless and clean mechanism for registering SIMs in the first place (and that too before the industry’s boom).

If all or any of above rules were put in place in early 2000 or say in year 2003, situation could be lot different than what we have now.

At that time, our former chairman PTA and the cellular companies remained counting the SIM numbers and didn’t think for a second about the outcome of selling millions of SIMs without ID cards or verification.

But again, it’s the regulator and the government who need to keep an eye on cellular companies. This is what we call lack of vision…

What Next:

We have seen plentiful of such orders and regulations that promised the total elimination of un-verified SIMs. However, none of them was solid enough to resolve the issue.

Analysts are expecting these fresh orders to diminish as well under the heavy influence of billions of dollars that these cellular companies make for themselves and the government.

By the way, just for records, these orders (or any others after finalization) will go to Ministry of Information and Technology, which will issue a directive to PTA to get them implemented.

The only solution:

I have spoken to countless industry experts, and those who are going to directly get impacted with these new orders, here is the only solution that can work for complete elimination of un-verified SIMs from the country:

– Fresh Registrations:

Yes, re-register each and every subscriber in the country. Give cellular companies and subscribers a deadline (say one year or 18 months) to re-register their SIMs – and then block all un-registered SIMs after the deadline. Government should fund the re-registration process, or at least subsidize it to compensate its part of mistake.

This way, at the time of deadline, we will have working and registered SIMs in hands, while all other subscriptions will churn out, for good.

But again, this will require a lot of money and heart to begin with. But more important is that what Rahman Malik has in mind for coming days!

Tech and telecom reporter for over 15 years

  • This is complete inadequecy of the Home Dept. And the whole point is that shortcomings of a bureaucratic department should not hurt an end client.

    UAE being very strict with all of mobile phone control still issues sims easily. Currenlty, getting a SIM in Pk is like going to a jail where thumb impressions are required and you are almost asked ‘when you last cried’. Put 1-SIM rule on top and this means I’ll have to share the same number for work and pleasure???

  • then what will happen with 2 sim mobiles????
    they should also be banned.
    what if somebody want to take benefits of packages offered by mobile operators like LBC offers?
    ridiculous or what should i say a hilarious decision, but what you can expect with this government?

  • I think instead of blaming on past, we should agree on one thing that growing population of Pakistan is getting out of hands from regulatory authorities. Substantial steps are required to organize every thing in the country.

    NADRA data can be widely use to track data of every citizen but as per my information, most of departments like vehicle registration, passport dept, telecom, banking sector, insurance, law & enforcement agencies are reluctant to work in one direction. Every body is doing work in isolation and this is main cause of loose control on citizens.

    If Government even now gets serious and use its unemployed young IT force to develop and deploy ERP solution to address all such issues, really majority will take a breath a relief. We will be not insulted on highways, airports, passport offices, police stations and on many other places. Problem is only and only ONE MAN SHOW in country and unfortunately never found highly qualified ruler in country.

    I think, Government should implement 1 SIM per network against each CNIC. This way one user can keep maximum 5 SIMS. If such regulations can be implemented in countries like China, US and India…why not in Pakistan. Government should tighten its control and use best ERP solutions to see all information related to Citizen on one computer screen. Really it will bring big change in country.

    • — NADRA data can be widely use to track data of every citizen but as per my information, most of departments like vehicle registration, passport dept, telecom, banking sector, insurance, law & enforcement agencies are reluctant to work in one direction.

      Do you want to know why this is a bad thing? YOU END UP WITH A POLICE STATE WHERE EVERY MOVE IS MONITORED.

      Do you know that in Saudi Arabia, if you go to the airport to fly out (even with exit-reentry visa so you return after vacation or business trip), they will check you against their NATIONAL DATABASE and if you did something like not pay one traffic fine or something, they stop you from leaving. You WILL MISS YOUR FLIGHT AND NO ONE WILL CARE WHEN YOU CRY.

      There are good sides and bad sides to what you want. Do you TRUST the people in our government NOT TO DO WRONG THING? I don’t.

      Also, think of abouse or even accidental mistake. If someone enters wrong data, that means EVERYONE WILL NOW INSULT YOU not just one organization.

      — If such regulations can be implemented in countries like China, US and India…why not in Pakistan.

      HA HA SO NAIVE!!! In US, Canada, many Western countries, to get a PREPAID SIM you DONT HAVE TO SHOW ANY IDENTIFICATION. Just buy it from someone and put it in your phone. The End.

      I do not understand why everyone in Pakistan is about control control control. Maybe because they feel they have no control over their lives so they want everyone (else) to loose freedoms.

    • Control on Citizens ? Are you proposing a dictatorship or have been supporter of Zia and Musharraf ? Governments are to serve people and countries, not to CONTROL them. And ERP solutions aren’t for Governemtns for this kinda issue, but G2C, G2E , G2G models are for E-Governments.

      Thank you.

  • Kuch din baad rehman malik sahab kehnay walay kay saans lene say phele bhi government sya verify karain, PPP government koi moqa nahi chor rahi hay k kis tarah logo or companies or mulk or world ko black mail ker k apni pocket bhar sakay.

    its just disgusting. Government should mature now.

  • what should be happen .. dakhna yah ha k asa ho ga yah ni .. asa ni hona chyea ..kam sy kam har network ki 1 sim tu allow karni chyea na ha bs 1 he sim

  • cellular companies are responsible for this unregistered//fraud sim issue in pakistan . if they would be sincere . it just a matter of a day or two that they can block such sims

  • this whole drama of multiple IMEIs is being triggered by NOKIA etc. who are being slaughtered by cheap Chinese handsets. There is no way IMEI can be used to track a criminal as it is the easiest thing to change in the handset using some very basic skills. As a developing country we need cheap handsets and should not fall in this trap of European handset manufacturers.

    • It is not just changing IMEI, it is also that some chinese phones have NO IMEI or IMEI ALL ZEROS. One news story (you can find many in google)

      About 25 million phones affected.

      Blocking same IMEI phones is probably a good thing and not many subscribers might be affected in Pakistan (smaller market).

      — As a developing country we need cheap handsets and should not fall in this trap of European handset manufacturers.

      I do not understand — you want our government to be unable to track criminals?

      • I agree … un-registered SIMS and handsets with duplicate IMEI should be blocked … it will help a lot to track criminals.

        But our mobile companies would not like to do this because they are making money from un-registered or fake registered SIMS. :P

  • One sim per NIC means those who are under 18 can’t use a cell phone, he is indeed out of his mind.

  • I think we are going back to 1947. Limited telephone connections, no mobile connection etc. I am with Government but we need leader like 1947. If they are ready then we have no issue.

    Currently if one operater goes down we can use alternate connection but now they are after this step it would be not possible. So this step is not acceptable to me. Government should take necessary step to document each and every thing but its not the way to block everything.

  • The Minister is not even Pakistani… he cares less if the general public is going to face issues

  • i think sub theek ha par sirf 1 kam theek nahin wo yeh k 1 sim par cnic.this is totaly wrong.pta ko allow karna chahaiy k all user apnay id card pay dekh sakain k konsa number on ha aur kitany number on hain aur usy block karnay ki be option deni chahiay.phr sub ko pta hoga k us k name pay konsa number registered ha aur kia wo us k use main ha.companies walay to sim illegal agr aap k name pay ho to wo block karwa be do to kuch din bad wo sim phr aap k name pay he kar datay hain.aur pta ka be recoed 45 days bad pta chalta ha k kia sim jo hum nay bnd karwai ha kia wo company nay waqai bnd ki ha ya nahin.

    • you are right … lekin 1 NIC may atleast 2 SIMS allow honi chahiye … aur sara data NADRA kay sath associated ho ta kay tracking proper ho sakay.

      I personally do not like this minister much, but jo faisla mulk kay liye accha hay woh accha hay. :)


  • What kind of bushlit is this? Not my fault if you cannot handle details correctly.

    Let see when his beloved BB died, the biggest network in Pakistan went to the dogs. Why? Network Overload. People used their alternate PAKtel SIMs to get in touch.

    Furthermore, what about keeping your business and personal matter separate? Mr. Malik and his government has problems with everything. They would not crackdown on militants and target killers but they will ban SIMs.

  • One SIM per each network would be fine but one SIM per CNIC is even more insane than a guy like Aamir Aata controlling quality of blog.

  • pta ko alow kana chahiye ham pta ki site main apna cnic chek kar saken k hamare id par kon kon sa number on hai
    is se sari problem hi hall ho jaye gi.

  • What a cheap decision… I totally disagree with Malik points. 30 days are impossible for all people. Companies dont have such resources to verify sim in fast way.

  • This ______ minister is just insane – if 1 SIM per NIC then what about minors?

    [Comment Edited]

  • Atleast 2 SIMS per NIC should be allowed, because many people have 2 legitimate SIMS and cellular companies should obey this order for the elimination of security issues of Pakistan.

    Cellular companies will definably try to NOT let this happen, because they are only concerned about making money, they do not care or worried about security of Pakistan.

  • Why on earth no one questioned Abdur-Rehman Mailk that how can he order telecos directly? He should talk to PTA, and PTA should talk to telecos on this.

    If anyone of you ever had a chance of purchasing a SIM card in Europe or on Hajj in Saudia, you don’t need to even present your passport copy to get one. Only Pakistan needs such measurements ?

  • Just wasting time & resourcing in the name of War on Terror. These leaders are the developers of Terrorism by promoting illiteracy & poverty. They are doing every effort to keep this nation Jahil & Ghareeb.

  • Well i think Thats A Bold n Nice Step taken By Rehman Malik Just Make It 2 Sims On Per Id’s

    And Its All About For Our Security :)

    Why We Claim From Government About The Bomb Blasts
    Now If They Take Any Step To Stop Such things

    We Should Also Give Positive Response
    Telecom Companies are Also Involved in Providing Un-verified Sims

    So I Must Say Good Decision But Could be Good After making Some Corrections :)

  • Respected aamir attaa and all visitors asalamualikum and plz help me for this problem

    i have recived message on 21/04/2011 from P.T.A side that my original nokia handset model 5230 imei no 354336043288687 is illegal.
    I have purchased this set 6,7 months ago from international mobile zone hyderbad sindh and my set is still under 6 months warranty provided by United mobile.
    Kindly guide me how to settle this problem unnessarily created for me.

    Yours faithfully

  • It is too late to introduce such actions, only thing that can be done is to get verified the sim owners national identity or if he has more than one sims, the respective id of the others members using that sim can be provided.

  • v.v.v bed one id card number one sim ishu, this is not right , saqib in london

  • Wow Got Msg from Zong today. All sim will be deactivated with in 7 days, contact service center

  • Once in a talk show at BBC World, there was a senator interviewed by the host. The host asks that the terrorist attacks are usually occurs by the person who were on student visa. Why dont you banned the student visa for a limited time to see if any change occurs?

    The senator replied back and said ” why we banned the student visas? we are paying billions of dollars to our respective agencies. Its their duty to get the terrorists and punish them. We cannot penalize any innocent due to this reason.

    I would like to say that when we are also paying billion of rupees, then why we punish our innocent people for that? Can anyone answer me ?

  • They don’t hv any plain just apply their formula but i thing its very bad agints one sim one number
    alot of kids i mean the teenage they also used the mobile and how we provide them the sim if ther is only one sim per NIC that is not the solution of terririsim

  • We all knew Mr. Malik was _____ person … but this is insane… there are much better ways of doing things… when the hell will these stupid people learn to do things the right way…

    [Comment Edited]

  • This is ridiculous. First you want to market Pakistan as a haven for foreign investment. Sell mobile operators license for billions. Cellular companies invest billions more for infrastructure and services. Then collect more billions in taxes, directly from these cellular companies and the consumers. The mobile connections multiply, meaning more investment to cater the growth.
    Then pull the carpet from under these investors, and the consumers.
    1 SIM per CNIC, or 1 SIM per CNIC per Telcom are both ridiculous. I have 2 different SIMs fro 2 telcos, from my office as I often travel to remote areas where I cannot always get good signals. I have 3 kids and I want my family numbers on same network. Is this need illegal?

  • All consumers, please go to court against this minister. Better yet. Throw out the minister for saying such stuff. He is paid by our taxes so he should provide the logic he before the idea. He is being paid by the people to do this.

    The reason for throwing out the minister is that if the idea is security which is indirectly mentioned, then the problem of stealing someone else’s mobile before using it was not resolved before the single SIM tracker solution.

    Mr. Rehman Malik and other government officials have failed to get off their buts and not taken a stand against the people who get paid by external and internal elements to create terror for the people residing in the country.

    The people in the country and living outside who have a CNIC have not been able to replace the ministers with serious people because the CNIC holders themselves are not serious about the current situation and do not care what kind of country or place they are creating and leaving behind for their children.

    With the junk policies being doled out, you can expect a brainwashed terrorist stealing your child’s mobile and using it to make a call. Then your child ends up dead in jail because of the police which shall be asking for all of your money before “picking up” your child in front of you from your own house.

    Please stop this mess and do the following :
    1. Find qualified people
    2. Replace the crackpots.

    Someone mentioned UAE. You need to realize that the UAE hires people who are not nationals, but people from all countries based on results achieved previously for their future plans.

    The UAE does not depend on the qualifications and capabilities of people from one country alone.

    Pakistan needs to find and pay the consultant’s salaries to get in shape. And do the exercise regularly to stay fit and healthy.

    Stop eating and exercise.



  • This is a good dsgn aaj hona chai der mat karain,pak pak pakistan i lllove u’

  • Are you _____ Mr. Rehman Malik. When the _____ will these ____ people learn to do things the right way …

    [Comment Edited]

  • This_____ interior minister needs to be fired. This policy will do more harm than good for the country. For a start, SIMs are not even issued without giving a copy of the ID card, so why does the government need to ask for the number again? The verification is only to update NADRA’s records, which has no business in meddling into our personal affairs.

    There are genuine reasons for having more than one SIM – for example, to separate personal and business calls, and to take advantage of more than one network provider. Also, with the advent of more types of mobile devices such as tablet computers, it would be inconvenient for one person to share the same one SIM across all of them.

    [Comment Edited]

    My concern is not only this restriction, but also the potential for the government to track individuals more easily. You don’t have to be a criminal or terrorist to be concerned about that either. It’s about privacy and civil liberties. The next step could very well be to tell us what we can or cannot say using mobile phones.

    At the very least for now, the mobile companies and consumers should take issue with this idiot and prevent the one SIM one ID policy from being implemented. Although many would disagree, the whole ID card system should also be scrapped. It is useful in some cases, but it is also misused to create a lot of inconvenience for ordinary people.

  • It’s very best thing Issue Only one sim for one CNIC. Our political leaders can do every things but sorry every one can not doing best for Pakistan and for Pakistanis.

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