ISLAMABAD - High influx of hoax calls is making it difficult for Nacta’s anti-terrorism helpline to serve the purpose, the chief of the anti-terrorism agency told an internal meeting yesterday.

The helpine-1717 of National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) was establish to respond to any suspected terrorist activity or threat anywhere in the country through bringing into action the relevant law enforcing agencies.

Nacta National Coordinator Ihsan Ghani informed the participants of the meeting that the authority was facing hurdles in operating the helpine because the hoax calls are being received in bulk.

He informed them that the helpline received 8,305 calls in first 20 days of July this year out of which only 41 calls were found to be authentic.

Nacta had launched the Helpine 1717 requesting the citizens to report to it any suspected terrorist or suspicious activity happening around them for a quick response of the relevant law enforcement agencies. The authority operates this helpline round the clock for seven days a week.

The monthly meeting of the authority was participated by Nacta members, directors general (DGs) and directors that was held to monitor progress on various ongoing initiatives of the agency.

Ghani told the participants that despite shortage of resources and staff, Nacta operates the dedicated emergency helpline and “is endeavouring to save lives of many innocent people, but some irresponsible persons create hindrances by making hundreds and thousands of hoax calls” to the country’s only anti-terrorism helpine.

Ihsan Ghani took serious note of the situation and reiterated Nacta's ambition to “minimise the pain of this traumatised nation which has been the victim of long and unwanted war of terrorism”.

The meeting decided to appeal to the people not to get involved in practices which not only waste the precious resources of the nation but may also end up in irreparable loss of lives of many innocent people who may include their own family or friends, he added.

It was also decided to make public the names and numbers of such irresponsible persons in order to make them accountable to the civil society and get embarrassed by their family and friends for their highly condemnable act of making hoax calls on such an important lifesaving helpline.

Ghani informed the meeting that Nacta got blocked cell phone SIMs of those 75 frequent spam callers, who placed more than 50 fake calls, through PTA to discourage such hoax callers.

By default the caller tune conveys the callers the warning of legal consequences for misuse of such an important helpline.