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February 15, 2018

PTA to group CNIC, IMEI numbers to curb phone thefts


February 15, 2018

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is in the process of grouping mobile numbers, their owners’ national identity codes and their phones’ unique identities with international mobile subscriber identities to curb phone thefts.

Sindh Home Minister Suhail Siyal has conveyed to the PTA that the progress hitherto made by the authority to curb the menace of snatching and stealing of mobile phones and their subsequent use should be brought before the provincial apex committee in its next meeting that would probably be convened later this month.

On the home minister’s request, a correspondence was sent on Tuesday by the deputy director (law enforcement) of the home department to the PTA chairman in Islamabad on the subject of mobile phone snatchings and thefts as well as their sale and purchase.

The letter reads: “In order to curb crimes, especially street crime, and to stop the misuse of mobile phones in terrorist activities, the honourable Sindh home minister was pleased to hold a meeting on July 10, 2017, followed by similar meetings on July 31, 2017 and February 13, 2018, with the relevant stakeholders.

“The matter was thoroughly discussed with PTA Karachi Director Syed Akhlaque Hussain Shah, who briefed that the authority was currently in the process of pairing or mapping data of 140 million customers so that the existing cell phone numbers (SIMs) in use, CNIC numbers of the customers and IMEI numbers will be paired with IMSI (international mobile subscriber identity) in the first phase, which will be completed in one month approximately, and in the second phase a short code (3472) SMS service would be provided to the public in which they would be facilitated to check and verify if the phone set they are purchasing is stolen, snatched, smuggled or misused.

“Once the system is in place, hopefully by the end of April 2018, the snatched mobile phones and stolen ones as well as the smuggled ones will be made inoperable, which will help in curbing crime and there would be no sale or purchase of snatched, stolen or smuggled cell phones.

“In the meeting with the PTA Karachi director on February 13, 2018, the honourable Sindh home minister appreciated and endorsed the project being undertaken by the PTA and further endorsed the proposal that the public would be facilitated to get their cell phone sets blocked by simply lodging their complaint with the helpline of their respective cell phone companies while getting their SIMs blocked by the cell phone companies.

“The necessary arrangements between the PTA authorities and the cell phone companies would be made by the PTA authorities. I am directed to convey the appreciation and endorsement of the honourable Sindh home minister regarding the project as well as the proposal by the PTA director and request the expeditious implementation of the same and sharing the progress thereon before February 25, 2018 so that the provincial apex committee under the National Action Plan may be apprised accordingly in their upcoming meeting.”

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