ISLAMABAD - The Afghan authorities have yet to respond to the Pakistani proposal to find out a way to block the use of Pakistani SIMs in Afghanistan.

After realizing that terrorists and criminals were using Afghan SIMs in Pakistan for kidnapping, ransom and other terrorist activities, PTA directed local mobile operators to block roaming of neighbouring country’s SIMs in Pakistan.

The roaming was blocked but in border areas issue sustain, an official said. These SIMs can still be used in border areas due to the spillover of signals, the official said.

He said that Pakistan not only wants to settle use of Afghan SIMs in Pakistani areas but also use of Pakistani SIMs in Afghan areas.

He said along with solving the current issues Pakistan Telecom Authority is seeking a long-term cooperation mechanism with the Afghan counterpart to proactively solve future issues also.

“We want to sign a memorandum of understanding between PTA and Afghan Telecom Authority to cooperate on all security issues, related to telecommunication,” the official said.

PTA has requested Afghan authorities through Foreign Office but despite passing many months, the authority has not received any response from across the border.

In October 2013, during a case proceedings, Peshawar High Court was informed by National Accountability Bureau, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa KPK, that over 40,000 cellphone SIM cards of Afghan telecom companies are operational in Pakistan and most of them were used in acts of terrorism, kidnapping for ransom and extortion.

During the proceedings, officials informed that there were two mechanisms through which the Afghan SIM cards had been operating: in some cases, they were activated in Afghanistan and functioned in Pakistan’s tribal areas through the signals emanating from Afghanistan and the second category of SIM cards functioned due to the roaming facility given to the relevant Afghan company by a Pakistani mobile phone operator.

The reason was stated that after Pakistani cellular companies had pulled out of several tribal areas and, therefore, the people had been using Afghan SIM cards.

The court after hearing the case, issued an order for PTA to end roaming facilities to Afghan cellphone companies within 15 days, observing that in growing number of cases of terrorism and kidnapping for ransom, SIM cards of Afghan companies had been used.

Warrants for the arrest of the chief executives of the cellular telecom companies were also issued over their failure to turn up, court, reportedly, said in its decision.

Despite an agreement between Pakistani and Afghan companies with prior approval of PTA, the Afghan SIMs were blocked in the country, but Afghanistan did not block Pakistani SIMs. Despite blockage there were still reports that terrorists were using Afghan SIMs in border areas.

After Peshawar massacre, last year, the government started biometric verification under National action Plan and re-verified around 70 million Sims in two months.

Experts believe that like biometric verification, usage of Afghan SIMs in the country should also be included in the national action plan, and the Afghan government should be approached on highest level.