February 24, 2015 -
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority chairman Syed Ismail Shah recently confirmed that more than 53 million mobile phone SIMs have been verified through the biometric verification system over the last 38 days, according to a report by Pakistan Today.
Meanwhile, the remaining 49 million SIMs will be verified within the next 91 days, said Shah.
Reported last month, the Pakistan Ministry of Interior formed a joint group to investigate over 100 million subscriber identification modules that were not verified through the biometric verification system prior to being issued in August 2014.
“SIM is not a primary source of crime but a useful tool for investigation,” said Aslam Hayat, corporate affairs VP at Pakistani mobile service phone provider Telenor.
Ammar Jaffri, CEO of Pakistan Institute of ICTs for Development, emphasized that there should be a coherent balance between the SIMs registration requirement and ensuring the comfort level of people, particularly in rural areas.
Jaffri said that criminals around the world often exploit technological advancements, which highlights the importance of registration and regular documentation of SIMs to successfully govern all countries.
To date, some 70,000 biometric devices have been installed at sale points of cellular mobile operators.
In addition, SIMs are now being sold and activated only after the National Database and Registration Authority verifies the purchaser’s biometrics (thumb and finger impressions) online.