The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has unearthed 18 illegal gateway exchanges and seized, besides other gadgets, hundreds of illegal Subscriber Identity Modules (SIMs) in various parts of Sialkot and Narowal districts on Tuesday.

FIA Gujranwala Region Deputy Director Khalid Anees said that special FIA teams led by senior officials of cyber crime wing raided various places in Sialkot, Daska, Uggoki, Pasrur, Narowal and surrounding areas and detected 18 different gateway exchanges.

He told newsmen that the FIA also arrested six owners of these illegal exchanges namely Hassan Ali, Faizan Shehzad (Sialkot) , Waleed Asfand, Aamir (Daska), Abdul Rauf (Pasrur) and Tahir Jamil (Narowal). He added that the FIA also seized 10 laptops, 7 UPS, 14 devises and hundreds of illegal SIMs of different mobile phone companies.

He said that the accused were indulged in illegal activities at national and international levels through the illegal mobile phone SIMS and causing great financial loss of Rs10 million to the national exchangers.

The FIA deputy director said that these gateway exchanges were being used in the incidents of kidnapping for ransom and money extortion by the accused and their other accomplices. Such cyber crime techniques are usually done by terrorists and the accused directly or indirectly involved in subversive activities, he said. He added that FIA has sent the accused behind bars after registering separate cases.

Meanwhile, District Police Officer (DPO) Sialkot Rai Ejaz Ahmed has urged all the segments of society to come forward and play their pivotal role in elimination of the terrorism from the country.

He said that the whole nation stands united against terrorism and is ready to sacrifice even lives for defending the Motherland while battling against terrorism along with armed forces of Pakistan. Addressing a meeting of “Muhafiz Committees” held at Sambrial, he said that awareness should be promoted at a grassroots level to weed out terrorism from the country by producing the strong generations.

He said that the special police powers had already been delegated to Muhafiz Committees now comprising elected chairmen of union councils, councillors, lambardars, retired Army personnel and notables. He also sought active role of these committees in ensuring foolproof security measures at all the educational institutions, religious seminaries, mosques, Imambargahs, churches, temples and Gurudawaras in Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial and Pasrur tehsils..

The DPO said that the Theekari Pehra and Lambardar System are being made more effective in the villages for improving rural areas’ security and controlling crime in active cooperation with the local people.

Sambrial Bar Association President Ather Nadeem Cheema, Secretary General Yasir Ahmed Malik, PML-N President Haji Sheikh Habibullah, DSP Mueen Ashraf, traders, lawyers, journalists, councilors and senior police officials were also present.