Mobile SIMS Used in Peshawar Attack Were Issued Through Biometric Verification

Five mobile phone SIMs used in Peshawar Incident were issued through biometric verification system, where customer had verified her identity through thumb impression.

Sources who are directly aware of the situation confirmed ProPakistani that all five SIMs (used in Peshawar Attack) were issued only after biometric verification and that all required standard operating procedures were followed for issuance of mobile SIMs.

Sources said that individuals involved in the purchase of SIMs are on record and their data (including thumb impressions) has been handed over to the concerned authorities for further investigation.

SIM purchaser and franchisee that issued SIMs are currently in LEA confinement for investigation, we have checked with sources.

Earlier Mr. Nisar, Minister Interior, while addressing a press conference yesterday revealed that there were five mobile SIMs used in the Peshawar attack that were registered in the name of a lady from Hasilpur in Southern Punjab.

Mr. Nisar stressed telecom operators to launch a crackdown on unregistered SIMs.

It must be noted that there is no way possible now to get a new mobile phone SIM, or a replacement SIM (in case of lost of stolen SIM) without biometric verification.

Thanks to Biometric Verification, it is impossible to get a SIM on fake registration, however, old SIMs that are unregistered is an area where industry is yet to find a solution

Not to mention, a maximum of five SIMs can be issued on one CNIC and customer has to block his/her old SIMs to get new SIMs if his 5-SIM-Quota is reached.

Thanks to these regulations, it is almost impossible to get an unregistered SIM or to obtain a SIM on fake registration. However, already operating SIMs — that are old but unregistered — is an area where industry is yet to find a resolution.

While mobile phone companies have invested billions of rupees on implementation of biometric verification system (and countless other initiatives during the past few years), it is yet to be ascertained that what exactly will get us the complete elimination of unregistered SIMs.

Despite all the measures, it is only the policy makers that are probably responsible for this horrific situation. It is only due them that we weren’t able to resolve the issue unregistered SIMs at that time, or even now when we have biometric verification tools in hands.

Many believe that the time has come to convict and penalize such policy makers who were given the responsibility and they didn’t deliver.

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

  • They should start blocking all old SIMS after giving a 30 day period to visit the nearest franchise and get biometrics recorded.

  • Unregistered SIMs don’t have a bio-metric thumb print, sure. But it is hard to believe someone bought even those SIMs without a CNIC. That particular regulation for prepaid SIMs has been in place since the beginning of time. It’s just a matter of will to “look up” those CNIC numbers from NADRA and get the bio-metric impression from NADRA’s database – but only if the powers that be want it to happen.

    • Of course, they can’t crack down all the unregistered SIMs. It losses billion of rupees. When this technique will apply, a person lives in a village, how will he able to identify this situation?. There should be a smart way to find out the solution.

  • Issue of unregistered SIMs is very easy to resolve. For every balance load on prepaid SIM, make it mandatory to add CNIC no first like *code*CNIC*14 digit card no#. It will automatically become non-functional if CNIC doesn’t match.

  • Everyone, I have a question in mind why to penalize a Telecom company or any franchise or any retailer if they have issued a Sim after biometric verification? I am not talking about unregistered sims. When the standard operating procedures have been adopted and even then those sims are misused or involved in any illegal activity who is responsible? The unregistered sims must be blocked immediately not a single minute should be allowed. If anyone living out side Pakistan then why it’s Sim is used by anyone else why the ownership not transferred before leaving Pakistan? So I believe there is no excuse if living abroad.

  • For all the maniacs I have one question if simso were purchased as per PTA and Govt. SOPs then why Mr.Nisar threatening operators and franchises and why franchise staff is in custody of LEAs… operators can guaranteed that the purchaser will not be involved in any illegal activity…..

  • For all those who r talking about ReVerification for sim through biometric that i have been a part of telecom sector in early days when rules were not followed properly. Sales targets were met and single cnic copy was used for multiple sim having no cnic copy attached/received from retailers. Even third parties were hired to fill prepaid forms with bogus details. Now it is hard to find out those blunders. Further.. biometric verification has also limitations. Before 2006. Nadra was using old technology for capturong biometric of 4 fingers which are not useable for current verification system and biometrics are updated free of cost. Each verification has some cost paid to nadra. Majority of people living in rural areas can not visit telec offices/franchises/outlets for biometric verification. All these issues are in the mind of policy makers due to which they are avoiding from it.

  • In this case we have got some information that the people selling sim cards on shops ask the purchaser to put his thumb multiple times, this way they register multiple sim on single name, give one to the customer and keeping rest of the sim to be used illegally.
    @aamir i would love to ask you to have one article /notification on your blog to guide users about it.

  • A lousy excuse for the government officials. What about the explosive material which was used in Peshawar incident? Who manufactured and sold the explosives and how such a huge amount was transferred in the city especially after placing a lots of security barriers and check posts in the main cities? I guess the security agencies need to improve their checks and balances rather than pointing their fingers at telcos. This means that if God forbid next time a vehicle is used in such an activity then the govt will also blame the car manufacturing company!

    All the officials, especially PTA should support telcos in this scenario. Telcos cannot ensure that their sim will not be used for criminal acts. It is the govt’s policy to stop all the explosive material which is the root cause of this incident.

    I strongly recommend to block all un-registered sims asap and ask the users to re-verify their sims after getting their finger prints verified from NADRA. My question here is, will it stop such incidents in future? The main

  • A person’s fingerprints are not a secret. Everything he or she touches has their fingerprints. This system only gives you a false sense of security. In reality you still have to depend on the honesty and integrity of the telecom operator’s employees. They are not honest so this whole approach is pointless. Admit it once and for all that you cannot stop the issuance of such SIMs.

    I should like to add that nowhere in the world do you get fingerprinted just to get a mobile phone connection. The sad part is that people here actually want this system. Not only is the government fascist but the people are too!

  • I think we are neglecting some points in this discussion.

    1. The biometric process of sim acquisition/replacement is the need of the time. The problem with the Peshawar incident was not that all the five sims were bio-metric verified; but the problem was that they were acquired from a “SINGLE” mobile operator…and perhaps in a single day…

    so the question arises….Should there be a check n control on the MNOs if multiple sims are requested on a single cnic in a single day or two?

    2. The verification of the existing non-verified sims in 28 days apparently seems unrealistic; considering the fact that there are some thousand of MNO’s Sales n Service Centers/Franchisees. But we should not forget that the Biometric have also been installed on GSM Agent locations (the shopkeeper that sells you the mobile cards ). But currently the agents are only selling new sims; I think if MNOs can bring them in the loop for verification of existing sims (keeping in mind the biometric infrastructure is already present there), it would ease out the pressure on the MNO offices and the deadline of 28 days might be achieved.

    3. thirdly, I would paste my comments from another blog of this website

    Now talking about a loophole in the process of sim acquisition. As a rule, you cannot acquire more than 5 sims on your cnic (regardless of the fact if they are taken from a single or multiple providers). The process is….when you request for a sim, they send an sms (or request you to send an sms) to 668 to check how many sims are issued on your cnic. if the answer is 4 or less, they issue you a sim. But Interestingly, the database of 668 is updated after 15 days (or perhaps after a month) which means that you can acquire more than five in a single day from five different providers, and the next day you can again repeat the same procedure.

    the solution to this is real-time updatiopn of 668 database (which is probably maintained with PTA) so that it gets updates the very second a sim is activated on a cnic.

    Please correct me if i am wrong

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