Islamabad, Mar 31: Over 1.6 crore unregistered SIM cards of mobile phones of various cellular phone companies in Pakistan are being held by terrorists, dacoits, carjackers, kidnappers and obnoxious callers, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has said.
According to the Authority, cell phone SIMs were being sold as cigarettes on the 'Paan' shops and other small kiosks without procuring any identity of the buyers. It said that the cellular phone companies are playing a critical role in aiding terrorist activities and promoting heinous crimes in the country by selling mobile phone SIMs without proper documentation. The basic tool of every act of terrorism and other atrocious offence was the anonymous mobile phones.
There are nearly 80,301,327 cell phone users in the country, according to PTA. "The crime rate, specially, acts of terrorism can go down amazingly, if unregistered mobile phones are jammed off," claimed an expert engaged in investigation of heinous crimes including terrorism case for the last 22 years. Director General (DG) National Police Bureau (NPB) Shuaib Suddle, also admitted that unregistered mobile users were a major cause of terror and worsening law and order situation in the country. "Certainly, anonymous mobile SIMs caused increase in monstrous offences," he said and added that use of unregistered SIMs could be controlled through deterrence and constitution of strict law.
"Use of unregistered SIMs is as serious as keeping illegal weapons," The News quoted Suddle as saying. Similarly, Inspector General of Police (Sindh) Azhar Ali Farooqi said, "Certainly, the unregistered cellular SIMs are causing increase in heinous crimes and the trend of use of anonymous SIMs should be discouraged by comprehensive and feasible strategy."
Balochistan IGP Saud Gohar said that the terrorists were being commanded through unregistered SIMs, adding the mobile phone companies should issue SIMs through franchise centres only. "SIMs were being sold, even, at cigarette shops just to increase their sale," Saud Gohar said and added, "This is relatively risky that the unrecorded SIMs are pre-active."
Terming it a serious issue, Islamabad IGP Shahid Nadeem Baluch said, "The unregistered mobile SIMs have played important role in increase of heinous crimes." Unverified SIMs should be blocked immediately, he said and added: "As many as 40 per cent of the general and over 90 per cent of heinous crimes will certainly be lessened if unidentified SIMs are blocked.