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Biometric-Based SIM Verification to Help Improve Pakistan’s Security Concerns


Pakistani Minister for Interior and Narcotics Control Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan announced last Friday that law enforcement agencies will deploy biometric based SIM verification to improve the country’s security situation.

The announcement follows the Interior Ministry’s recent security concerns over the use of cellular devices in terrorist and criminal activities.

Khan said this during a presentation given to him by chairman of NADRA Imtiaz Tajwar, just before signing an agreement on Biometric Based SIM issuance between NADRA and the CEOs of telecom operators Ufone, Mobilink, Zong, Warid and Telenor at NADRA Headquarters.

The chairman of PTA, Dr. Syed Ismail Shah, who also attended the signing ceremony, said that biometrics based SIM verification is of high priority and high concern for the Pakistani government.

Based the new system, no individual will be able to purchase a new SIM without first completing the biometric verification process.

The Minister called on NADRA and cellphone companies to create a device for eliminating a hefty backlog of unverified SIMs in Pakistan.

Chairman NADRA also mentioned in his presentation that NADRA, in consultation with all stakeholders, finalized an agreement that would ensure that it would not be possible to issue mobile phone SIMS that use a fake identity.

NADRA, which is responsible for providing biometric solutions for over 96 percent of the total population of the country, demonstrated the new Biometric Verification Systems services and applications to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and telecom operators last year.

NADRA floated the draft agreement among the telecom companies, for the solution.
The representatives of the telecom companies and PTA took part in the verification of their biometric impression through the proposed solution. The proposed solution conforms to the requirement of PTA directives.

Under the new Biometric Verification System, citizens will now be required to provide their biometrics for genuine authentication against CNIC data that is held with NADRA whenever they purchase a cellphone.

The SIM will be activated once the transaction is successful. The entire process will be available online and take no longer than 15 seconds to complete.

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