PTA Proposes Sale of Illegal SIMs As Non-Bailable Offence

The federal government has made a big decision to stop the issuance of illegal SIMs in the country.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has sent draft amendments to the PECA Act 2016 to the Ministry of IT and Telecom. Under this, it has been proposed to make the illegal sale of SIMs a cognizable and non-bailable offense.

According to the PTA, replacement of Non-Live Finger Detection devices with Live Finger Detection devices is in progress. The authority has implemented Live Finger Detection (LFD) system in 95 percent of devices to eradicate silicon thumbs.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has blocked a large number of SIM cards issued illegally by various telecommunication companies. According to PTA, it has blocked illegally issued 850,000 SIM cards in 2023.

The Authority has terminated around 8,500 retailers and 100 franchisees due to the illegal issuance of SIM cards and violation of company policies so far. PTA and FIA have conducted 13 raids against illegal issuance of SIMs in 2023 and 19 persons have been arrested in these raids.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has imposed huge fines on Cellular Mobile Companies (CMOs) for the unauthorized sale of SIMs. According to PTA, it has imposed a Rs.100 million fine on Zong, Rs. 70 Million on Ufone & Rs. 21 Million on Telenor.

To make the issuance of SIMs more transparent, the PTA has asked the CMOs to implement SIM Stock Binding at the Franchisee level across the industry by the end of this year. According to PTA, the Implementation of 3 factors of authentication i.e. login/password, OTP, and biometric of the seller is under process across all CMOs.

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