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Sindh High Court orders SIM card sales to be biometrically verified in Pakistan


SIM card sales and the biometric identification and verification of buyers are back in the news in Pakistan.

The Sindh High Court in Karachi has told all cellular companies to ensure franchise holders are equipped with the proper machinery and tools and that fingerprint devices are to be connected with Nadra, and to begin the biometric verification of buyers soon.

Reported in thenews.com.pk, the Sindh High Court’s division bench has directed that no fresh cellular connection or SIM reactivation can be issued without biometric verification from Nadra, starting July 1, 2013.

This is not the first time biometric verification technology has been proposed for monitoring SIM card sales in Pakistan.  As reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, Pakistan’s Interior “Minister Rehman Malik said unregistered phones and motorcycles have become “instruments for terrorists to unleash violence,” leading to the SIM card biometric verification mandate.

This was a messy mandate from the beginning. There has been significant resistance from telecom operators in the country who feel as though the cost of the verification machines is too much to bear. A deadline was previously set to begin enforcing the biometric verification, and it has since passed without enforcement.

Originally, the verification systems were set to be operational by the end of February, 2013, though absent officials have now extended this period indefinitely. 

Pakistan is not the only country turning to biometrics to control SIM card sales, either.  BIO-key International has recently provide fingerprint analysis technology for a similar SIM card program in Nigeria. 

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