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January 9, 2015

IHC seeks reply from PTA chairman in Afghan SIMs case


January 9, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) here on Thursday directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman to submit reply within a fortnight in a case pertaining to stoppage of operation of Afghan SIMs in Pakistan. The petitioner in person, Advocate Raja Saimul Haq Satti, has cited the federation of Pakistan through the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman, federal minister for interior, director general (DG) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), chief executive officers of all five mobile telecom companies, five provincial governments and the Competition Commission of Pakistan as respondents.
The petitioner adopted before the court that the government has directed the regulator, PTA, to curtail the operations of illegal and unregistered Afghan cellular phones in Fata and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa because of security issues but all in vain. Around 50,000 SIMs of Afghan mobile telephone companies are being operated inside Pakistani territory and using international roaming services to make and receive calls and were suspected of being used in serious crimes such as extortion threats, anti-state activities, extension of threats of dire consequences, carry out bomb blasts, kidnapping for ransom cases in Pakistan, illegal VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) activity and by terrorist networks for communication. Apart from this, the SIMS also work on their local Afghan networks in certain Fata regions which are close to the Afghan border.
The petitioner has prayed to the court to direct PTA and telecom service providers to not only to block and suspend the operation of millions of illegal, unregistered Afghan SIMs and the relevant CEO and the management of cellular companies be booked for perpetration under cyber crimes and be made liable to pay the compensation to the legal heirs of the deceased and the injured in terrorism incidents.

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