The Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat has instructed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to carefully monitor the usage of cellphone numbers for cybercrime, particularly financial theft.
The Committee also instructed the Authority to conduct a performance review of cellular operators in order to address the problem of poor mobile signals. This morning, the Committee convened at Parliament House under the chairmanship of Kishwer Zehra, MNA.
The Committee was informed that the PTA had been regularly monitoring fraudulent calls made from domestic and foreign lines and had taken different measures to block such calls with the assistance of cellular carriers. The PTA Representative also informed the Committee that action had been taken against members who had lodged concerns. He informed the Committee that the Authority would keep a close eye on all unlawful activities and cellular number abuse.
Concerning unlawfully issued SIMs, the PTA Member stated that the method for issuing of SIMs via live monitoring of biometrics had been enhanced. The Representative of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) also briefed the Committee on the topic at hand. He stated that cybercrime was being prosecuted under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act. He stated that money illegally withdrawn from bank accounts is not covered by the PECA and should be handled by the State Bank of Pakistan.
Following extensive deliberation, the Committee decided not to advise passage of the Benazir Income Support Programme (Amendment) Bill, 2020, and the National Poverty Reduction Bill, 2021, introduced by MNAs Mr. Naveed Aamir Jeeva and Ms. Uzma Riaz, respectively.
The Committee determined that the current provisions of both legislation were adequate. As a result, the change suggested by the Members will either duplicate existing laws or limit the scope of current laws. The Committee suggested that the Poverty Alleviation Council formed under the Benazir Income Support Programme be made operational as soon as possible and that it comprises members of the Senate and National Assembly.
The Committee adjourned debate on Starred Questions Nos. 52 and 75, proposed by MNAs Syed Mehmood Shah and Murtaza Javed Abbasi, respectively. Mr. Naveed Aamir Jeeva proposed to postpone the Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (Amendment) Bill, 2021, and the Benazir Income Support Programme (Amendment) Bill, 2021, to the next meeting.