Senate Body Concerned Over Closure of Mobile, PTCL Services in Mohmand Agency, FATA

Parliamentarians expressed serious concerns over suspension of mobile phone networks in Mohmand Agency, FATA and suspension of internet as well as PTCL Service in the area.

Matter was discussed in a Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication that met with Taj Mohammad Afridi in the chair.

In response to questions from committee members, PTA responded that Ministry of Information Technology issued a Policy Directive dated 26th December 2009 regarding “Closure of Telecom Services due to National Security Concerns” which authorizes designated organizations to initiate closure requests.

PTA is the focal point to receive closure of services request from all concerned and issue necessary instructions for implementation through concerned operators.

In pursuance to the instruction of Ministry of Interior (MoI), only Internet/Wireless data services 3rd Generation (3G)/4th Generation (4G)/General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) of Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs) and Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) are closed in complete FATA to deny this facility to the terrorists since 14th June, 2016 till further orders.

Furthermore, on the instructions of Army, complete mobile services of CMOs operating Mohnunand Agency are closed since 15th March, 2017 due to an ongoing military operation.

Taj Afridi said that if phone services are suspended in the area due to security concerns, then why not services were suspended on line of control and Waga border.

PTA chairman Ismail Shah said that the cross border signal issue has been raised with Afghanistan through Foreign Office.

He further said that jammers are not the solution of the problem. Committee directed Secretary Interior and Secretary Defence to brief in the next meeting.