The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has penalized two telcos Rs. 100 million and Rs. 50 million for issuing SIM cards to unlicensed persons, according to the PTA’s Chairman, Gen. (R) Amir Azeem Bajwa, during a press conference earlier today.
He stated that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is actively working to curtail methods that allow individuals to obtain SIM cards based on fake biometric impressions, and that the PTA is working to develop a way to completely eliminate the practice because it causes serious harm to the masses in addition to being a matter of national security.
The Chairman acknowledged that there are still instances of people recording citizens’ thumb impressions on silicon or other substances and then replicating them for the issuance of biometric verified SIMs, but he also acknowledged that the number of such SIMs sold in the market has significantly decreased.
“The number of such illicit SIM sales has been reduced by more than 300 percent in the last two years alone,” he said.
He went on to say that the PTA has set numerous procedures in place for the issuance of new SIM cards and that it properly analyses issues concerning inconsistencies and repairs them appropriately.
“We make certain that a record of every SIM transaction is preserved so that if there is any illegality, we can trace it back to the precise retailer/franchisee or anybody who sold the SIM to guarantee that offenders face the consequences,” he added.
“We penalized one operator Rs. 100 million and another Rs. 50 million for breaching SOPs for the issuance of biometric verified SIMs,” he added.
When pressed to name the operators, the Chairman declined, instead stating that the PTA is doing all possible to prohibit the selling of illicit SIM cards in the nation. He added that the company is “also working on face recognition and other AI models to dynamically assist us in blocking the sale of unlawful SIMs in order to fully remove the possibility of any such sale in the future.”
General Bajwa stated that widespread awareness is needed to educate the general public not to provide their thumbprints to scammers impersonating officials of the BISP or Ehsaas programs.
He stated that such unlawful SIMs are the root cause of many crimes in society and may endanger Pakistan’s national security and that the only solution is to completely prohibit the selling of illicit SIMs.