PAKISTAN: Policy for documentation of mobile subscribers devised
Subscribers must possess proper documentation or lose mobile phone service
Friday, January 25, 2008
ISLAMABAD --- Government on Friday devised a policy framework making it compulsory for all the cellular operators to make proper documentation of their subscribers so that unregistered connections could not become security hazard.
"The aim is to regularise more than 20 million subscribers' data that is either inaccurate or not available and to make sure that SIMs are not issued without verified documentation in future given the fact that misuse of the service was becoming a major security concern," said caretaker minister for IT Dr Abdul Riar while announcing the mobile subscriber documentation and antecedent verification policy at a press conference here.
To stop the use of mobile phones for a criminal intent, the minister said more than 140,000 SIMs had been disabled.
The policy was promulgated following guidelines from parliamentary committees and verdict of the Supreme Court and demands from the security agencies for appropriate registration and collection of verified documentation to make easy the availability of reliable data to enhance law enforcement activity.
The policy will become effective after 90 days, giving mobile operators enough time to fulfil all the necessary conditions laid down.
Millions of mobile telephone subscribers in the country can lose the service if they fail to make proper documentation with the concerned operators within three months.
Highlighting some of the features of the new policy, the minister said number of subscribers had crossed 75 million amounting to about 50 per cent tele-density.
"Where the immense growth of the cellular industry has provided new opportunities to people, on the other hand mobile connections are being misused for coordination during crimes," he said.
The new policy has made it mandatory for all the operators to clearly mark their sale points within one month. All operators must complete database and collect correct information of existing SIMs within 90 days.
New connections must not be sold without an attested NIC copy for the Pakistani citizens. Thumb impressions and proper identification will be required from Afghan refugees, and passport with valid visa for foreigners will be the requisites.
The new registration form that will be available after three months for new subscribers will contain a declaration in clear terms that the person purchasing the SIM will be responsible for its use.
The minister said the telecom industry had grown rapidly in the last five years. "Unfortunately, failure in implementation of already clearly laid down rules regarding SIM documentation had result in millions of un-accounted for connections," he said.
To achieve 100 per cent accurate documentation of the rapidly growing mobile connections, the PTA will initiate media awareness campaign for effective implementation of the directives, he said adding that the ministry would oversee and keep a watch to ensure implementation within given policy.
Date Posted: 1/25/2008