ISLAMABAD - After receiving plethora of complaints regarding use of unverified and unregistered mobile phone SIMs in the criminal and terrorism activities throughout the country in general and Karachi in specific, the Interior Ministry has decided to show zero tolerance with regard to this issue.

“No compromise will be made on this issue with cellular phone companies, because this matter is related to national security,” a statement of the Ministry of Interior said while quoting Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. He gave these remarks while chairing a meeting held at the Ministry of Interior.

According to the official statement issued by the interior ministry, the meeting discuss the issues pertaining to national security and especially use as well as sale of unverified and un-registered SIMs. The Minister of State for Information Technology Anusha Rehman and officials from National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Special Branch of Sindh Police attended the meeting.

In the meeting, the minister expressed his concerns over the procedure of acquiring new mobile SIMs and said that the use of unverified and unregistered SIMs was a threat to security. He ordered for the establishment of fast track system to resolve this issue permanently. “This will help the concerned authorities to track the activities of criminals and terrorists and take pre-emptive measures to stop them,” he added.

The minister remarked that the current government had a good track record of being business friendly and would do its utmost to help the telecommunication business to prosper in Pakistan, however no concession on national security would be made.

Chairman NADRA Tariq Malik informed that NADRA had the capacity to verify the SIMs by using biometric system and this would integrate the process of SIM verification with the updated NADRA database that contained all biometric information of the citizens.

The minister for IT stated that she would like NADRA and the telecommunication companies to reach a consensus on the cost of implementing the biometric system so that the process of verification may begin as soon as possible.

The chair also discussed the problems relating to immigration and directed that all entry as well exit points of the country should be monitored thoroughly and strict discipline should be maintained at the immigration counters.

He asked the officers to ensure that the queues reserved for women, children and senior citizens at the immigration counters should not be encroached by other people. The minister also directed director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to set up complaint and comment counters at all major airports of the country, in order to incorporate the opinion of the passengers for improvement of the system.