Hundreds of thousands mobile phone handsets with the same International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) are being imported, which are subsequently used in cyber crimes and terrorist activities in the country.
This was revealed by Senator Rehman Malik in the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunications which met with Rubina Khalid in the chair here on Thursday.
“Full containers carrying mobile handsets with the same IMEI number are coming into the country making it difficult for the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to arrest someone and fix the responsibility”, Malik added. This practice is a serious security threat.
The committee directed the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to brief them in the next meeting on the issue.
Senator Malik also raised the issue of International Clearing House Exchange (ICH), asking about the agreement it was created under and those that benefited from it. He further questioned the reasons for it being scrapped and stressed the need to calculate losses and review it via an international auditing company after which a comprehensive report will be submitted to the Committee.
He further asked about the details about concessions given to some Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan is losing billions of dollars in revenue because of this practice.
Chairperson of the Committee suggested that since numerous simultaneous issues are confronted by the Committee of Interior and Committee of IT, a joint meeting to resolve issues permanently would be beneficial. It was suggested that legislation must be enhanced to deal with these issues effectively.
The committee also grilled the Ministry for non-implementation of its directives regarding the tax issues on mobile cards/load for those not coming in the tax net.
The meeting was attended by Senator Abdul R. Malik, Senator Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi, Senator Rukhsana Zuberi, Senator Sana Jamali and senior officers from the Ministry of IT, Ministry of Law and Justice and the FIA.