Pakistan begins investigation of 103 million unverified SIMs
A joint group formed by the Pakistan Ministry of Interior began investigating over 100 million subscriber identification modules that were not verified through the biometric verification system prior to being issued in August 2014, according to a report by Dawn.com.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority chairman Dr Ismail Shah told the senate’s standing committee on information technology and telecommunication that the government had ordered the group to complete the investigation within 90 days.
The interior ministry called for the investigation of the unverified SIMS following the December 16th terrorist attack on a school in Peshawar, said PTA chairman Dr Ismail Shah.
The joint group is comprised of members from interior and information technology ministries, mobile phone operators, Nadra, the Federal Investigation Authority, Intelligence Bureau and PTA.
“The 103 million SIMs have been issued against computerised national identity cards,” said Dr Shah. “The verification is being done to bring all connections under the BVS. Some 70,000 biometric devices have been placed at sales points of mobile phone companies to facilitate the subscribers.”
Shah said the group is working toward ensuring that all subscribers get their SIMs verified and authenticating a maximum number of connections over the 90-day period, while blocking the remaining SIMs.
Information technology secretary Azmat Ali Ranjha said the 90-day period will likely be extended while the investigation process will be advertised through print and digital media to inform subscribers.
Previously reported, Pakistan telecom companies have reported slower sales following the government decision to force SIM card activations to be biometrically verified through the National Database and Registration Authority database.