ISLAMABAD - Around 260,986 Subscriber Identification Modules (SIMs) have been blocked so far as part of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) measures to curb grey telephony.

Mobile numbers involved in illegal call termination (Grey Traffic) are being identified by Vigilance Directorate of PTA d Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and these are blocked on respective networks.

Of the total blocked SIMs, 177,594 were identified by Vigilance Directorate while 83,392 were identified by LEAs and consequently to avoid loss to national exchequer caused through illegal voice termination, the same are being blocked through concerned operators.

According to PTA officials, the Authority has also established a Call Centre as part of its steps and in this regard asked the public to register complaint if any at the Centre, which would be operated round-the clock.

It advised that on receiving any international call with local (mobile/landline/WLL etc.) number appearing on phone, the public can report that suspected number to following PTA Call Center contacts: Short Code: 8866 (Mobile phone subscribers can send suspected number to this short code through free SMS).

The Authority said the government was incurring huge financial loses due to illegal landing of international calls into Pakistan also known as grey traffic. It is done through bypassing the legal routes for international calls. A legal call coming into Pakistan should display correct number with correct country code.

Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications has also taken numerous steps to address this issue.

PODA TO HOLD TWO-DAY CONFERENCE ON WOMEN DAY

Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA) will organise a two-day conference on the theme "Rural Women:Development, Peace and Pluralism" highlighting the critical need to include rural women in decision making on Oct 30-31.

The conference is being organised in connection with Rural Women Day being observed on Oct 15, globally.

This year, the date of Eid-ul-Azha will coincide with the International Day for Rural Women so we have postponed the dates of the conference, said Executive Director PODA, Samina Nazir.

Pakistan is the world's 6th most populous country, but ranks 146th on the Human Development Index rankings. 

The majority of the Pakistani population consists of women and children and the vast majority live in rural areas.

It is also important to note that the largest segment of productive workers in rural areas comprised of women who spend more hours at work than men.

"Still, women in general and particularly those who reside in rural areas remain invisible to policy makers despite their huge contributions to the national economy", she said.

For instance, Samina added, in Pakistan nearly 79 percent of women engage in agricultural work compared to only 63 per cent of men. Rural women may work on their native lands for all their life but they are not considered as "farmers" by government agricultural departments unless they "own" the land.  Despite the fact that there are no legal restrictions but women are still denied land rights and less than five percent of women in Pakistan own land, she informed.

Like in most of South Asia, Samina said, Pakistani women are also the traditional custodians of the seeds, ensuring food security for the whole family.

However, she added, they are often kept out of the decision-making process involving food price controls. "Rural women fight for the protection of the environment and for ensuring their food security as they are most exposed to these aspects of rural life".

The Executive Director further informed that the conference will highlight new laws for protection of women's land rights. To highlight these problems and discuss strategies to overcome them, the conference will have a panel titled Women's Voices in Peace and Pluralism, she said.