Police has raided a Mobilink office in Sargodha after getting tipped, allegedly from a franchisee, and has recovered a dump of pre-activated SIMs from the building, told us sources in the market.
According to sources, due to a rift between Mobilink and Franchisees over recent commissioning restructuring, an annoyed franchisee tipped the police with the information about stock of pre-activated SIMs stored in Mobilink office.
Local police eventually raided the office and recovered some 35,000 pre-activated SIMs from regional office of Mobilink in Sargodha and detained TSO (Territory Sales Officer). Police is reportedly looking for Regional Sales Manager who went missing after the raid.
Reports say that police has registered an FIR under Anti Terrorism Act and due to it’s the case has been forwarded to FIA for investigation.
It merits mentioning here that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority had disallowed pre-activated SIMs to be sold or stored by cellular operators. According to PTA’s SOP, for sale of new SIMs, customers are suppose to get the SIMs activated though 789 only after purchasing it.
Mobilink confirmed ProPakistani about the incident and said it will co-operate with law enforcement authorities to investigate the issue. Following is what Mobilink wrote to us in an email:
Over the last 17 years, Mobilink has remained committed to Pakistan, with investments of over USD 3.9 billion as well as providing direct and indirect employment to thousands across the country. Mobilink continues to respect and operate according to all laws that govern over Pakistan.
Mobilink always cooperates with all legal investigations and is ready to provide any information as per the law and the Standard operating procedures (SOP’s) laid down by GoP and PTA. At the same time it expects the law enforcement agencies to follow the given procedure and the law.
Pakistani telecom market is long dealing with the issue of un-registered SIMs, which are widely used in all kinds of crimes in the country. This is the first time that an operator office was raided for the recovery of illegally stored mobile SIMs.
Experts opine that this incident will trigger long terming impacts on the industry. They said that it is an example of PTA’s inability to control cellular companies and unregistered SIMs for which customers are made to bear the service suspensions in the name of national security.