Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Monday directed the Ministry of Information Technology and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to sit with the mobile phone network operators and work out a roadmap for verification of all unverified SIMs (subscriber identity modules) across the country. The order from Ashraf came during a meeting with different mobile phone network operators who met with him at the Prime Minister’s House in the afternoon.

The operators informed the premier that at present SIMs were only being issued from their business offices and franchises, and that nearly 80,000 stores or outlets had earlier been selling SIMs across the country. They also said the verification of SIMs was taking a longer time than expected and it would not be possible for them to verify SIMs within the stipulated timeframe. Upon this, the prime minister instructed the IT Ministry to resolve the issue by March 7 (Thursday). The chief executive officers of cellular companies as well as senior officials of the Ministry of Information Technology attended the meeting.