Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has revoked the orders of Interior Minister Rehman Malik decreeing that cell phone companies can now sell SIMs through their outlets and franchise centres, however, only after verification from Nadra. The PM had a meeting with cell phone operators at his house, where he assured them that banning the services during sensitive days of Muharram was a national necessity and there was nothing more to it.

The resumption orders constitute a welcome step that will allay a nagging worry of the phone companies. It brings to notice Mr Malik’s disposition to settling such decisions in haste without getting the consent of either the Cabinet or the Prime Minister. The revenue from the mobile market has been great so far as it contributes to the economic wellbeing of the country. There have been incidents of oversight on the part of the companies while issuing SIMs but these instances should not have been used to take counterproductive measures. Instead, a strategy should be drawn and preferably with the phone companies on board to further arrest the possibility of such misuse of SIMs. All this should be done without putting the growth of the industry in jeopardy. Making decisions without consulting the cabinet reflects poorly on the way Interior Ministry has been working.