Since the Sharif brothers came to power they have disappointed the nation over and over again. Their paradoxical statements and actions are a cause for concern. The Prime Minister’s recent announcement to block all ‘unregistered’ phone SIMs went completely unheeded by everyone in the country as the vague announcement did not clarify when or what SIM would be considered as unregistered, everyone thought it best to ignore the statement till something more specific was agreed upon.

Perpetual terrorism and rising crime should have made this mandatory as cellular phones are used by the criminals to plan these acts of terrorism. Regrettably the PTA has failed to control and link each SIM with a specific owner. Estimates of illegal SIMs varies between 5 to 20 million. Conducting a short snap survey on 5 persons sitting in one room, we found that three had more SIMS shown by PTA records as compared to what they actually possessed and two had less SIMS than what was reflected in the PTA records.

One can safely conclude that there are gross errors in PTA’s records in terms of SIMs and their legitimate owners, despite the fact that this information and control is vital for Pakistan’s fight against crime and militancy. The large telecom private companies only care about their own profits they have no concern about security breach in the country, most of these companies are foreign based investors. I personally transferred my daughters SIM to my name but when I called the help line they still had my daughter’s name as the registered person.

PTA seems incapable of exercising sufficient control over the greedy Telecom companies and at times it appears that the two operate hand in glove. Can the government get more serious on this issue, revamp the PTA, and make sure it can force the Telecom Companies to block every SIM that cannot be proven to belong to a specific individual. If the government is serious, it would limit only one SIM per person and create a positive linkage between an individual, CNIC, SIM and IMEI, thus putting a stop to crime and terrorism in the country.


Karachi, September 21.