Cellular service providers will not be allowed to sell new SIMs through franchises, customer service centres or retailers from November 30, states an official notification sent by the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) to telecom operators on Tuesday.
Service providers will also have to verify all unregistered SIMs by December 12. Unregistered ones will be blocked permanently using a 5% illegal SIMs per week formula, it adds.
PTA has also asked service providers to block the entire stock of SIMs available in the market so no SIMs can be purchased from outlets starting December 1.
Sources said the interior ministry had issued some important directives to PTA regarding unregistered SIMs, which pose a great threat to national security.
They added that a high-level meeting was held at the PTA headquarters to communicate the aforesaid directions to operators, following which a notification was issued.
The telecom authority has asked cellular service providers to verify all SIMs by December 12, and issue a duly signed certificate stating that all credentials are 100% accurate by December 15. The credentials will be tallied with information available with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).
According to the PTA’s notification, new SIMs can only be issued against two documents: the customer’s computerised national identity card (CNIC) or his/her driving licence.
Service providers will have to send the new SIM to the customer’s authorised residential address and maintain a proper record of SIMs issued, sold and retrieved. The rider delivering SIMs has to ensure the person who applied for the same personally receives it, that too after verifying the CNIC and signing the receiving confirmation.
As per the Supreme Court’s orders, no more than five SIMs – whether from one or more service providers – can be issued against a single CNIC. The choice to retain a particular number will rest with the customer, added the PTA notification.
A source said the interior ministry has asked PTA to unblock YouTube and manually block any blasphemous content. He, however, did not say when the decision is expected to be implemented.Published in The Express Tribune, November 14th, 2012