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PTA slaps Rs150m fine on two cellular firms for issuing illegal SIMs

PTA slaps Rs150m fine on two cellular firms. (Source: Pro Pakistani)

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has imposed a huge fine of Rs150 million on two leading cellular companies for contraventions and non-compliance of regulatory laws including unauthorized sale of SIMs.

The development was announced by PTA Chairman Gen retd Amir Azeem Bajwa, during a press conference on Monday. “We fined Rs. 100 million to one operator while another Rs. 50 million to another for violating SOPs for issuance of bio-metric verified SIMs,” he added.

He said the authority was actively working to curb ways that allow individuals to obtain SIMs on fake biometric impressions.  “The Telecommunication Authority seeks to formulate a way to eliminate the practice entirely as it causes serious damage to the masses besides being a matter of national security,” the chairman added.

Amir Bajwa further said there were still instances involving people recording thumb impressions of citizens on silicon or other substances and then replicating them for the issuance of biometric verified SIMs, but acknowledged that the number of such SIMs being sold in the market has decreased notably.

The Chairman agreed that there are still instances involving people recording thumb impressions of citizens on silicon or other substances and then replicating them for the issuance of biometric verified SIMs, but acknowledged that the number of such SIMs being sold in the market has decreased notably.

“The number of such illegal sales of SIMs has been brought down by more than 300 percent during past two years alone,” he stated, adding that the PTA has put several checks on the issuance of new SIMs, and it thoroughly investigates matters involving discrepancies and fixes them responsibly.

“We make sure that track of every sale of SIM is kept so that in case of any illegality, we are able to pin down to the exact retailer/franchisee or anyone who had sold the SIM to ensure that offenders are served with the consequences,” he explained.

He revealed that PTA is “also working on facial recognition and other AI models to dynamically help us in stopping the sale of illegal SIMs to completely eliminate the chances of any such sale in the future”.

He said that such illegal SIMS are the root cause of many crimes in society and may harm Pakistan’s national security as well, and there is no other remedy but putting a complete stop to the sale of illegal SIMs.