Published on April 23rd, 2010 | by Arsalan Mir2
Counter Terrorism – More To Be Done
It seems that much more has to be done in telecom sector to counter terrorism. Recently in an meeting the Senate Standing Committee on Interior have expressed dismay over the PTA steps for the blockage of non-verified SIMS. In the same meeting PTA revealed that almost 76 millions mobile SIMs were referred to National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for verification and 10.2 millions were blocked for being issued on non verifiable documents. I believe 76 million turning out of a total around 96 million for SIM registration is an impressive figure.
The parliament body has also recommended on provision of access to database of mobile companies be provided to the police to counter surge of crime and terrorism in the country. Concerns over the number of SIMs issued on a CNIC was also raised. Excerpt below from business recorder gives more details.
The Senate Standing Committee on Interior has expressed dismay over the failure of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block the unregistered cell-phone SIMs and directed the regulator to provide exact data of SIMs blocked over non-verification as well as mobile SIMs issued against manual (old) National Identity Cards (MNICs).
The committee met here on Thursday in Parliament House with Senator Talha Mehmood in the chair, and was attended by Senators Najma Hameed, Gulshan Saeed, Israrullah Zehri and Nayyar Hussain Bokhari. High officials from Ministry of Interior, PTA, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad, Commissioner of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration and representatives of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Crime Investigation Department (CID) and other organisation were also present in the meeting.
PTA official briefed the committee that almost 76 millions mobile SIMs were referred to National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for verification and 10.2 millions were blocked for being issued on non verifiable documents.
The Parliamentary body recommended provision of access to database of mobile companies provided to the police to counter surge of crime and terrorism in the country. It was also decided by the Standing Committee to write a letter to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to accord approval to the proposal to give access to police to the call logs of mobile companies, which will enable police to have information about the record of phone calls of any specific person or alleged criminals during any specified time span.
IGP Islamabad Kaleem Imam informed the committee that police used to get access to required data of phone calls made by any proclaimed offender through lengthy correspondence with intelligence agencies, which made action against anyone belated. He maintained that performance of police could be improved with timely access to aforesaid data.
Committee also decided to recommend the government to invest maximum on the improvement of intelligence sources and security agencies to ensure safety of lives and properties of the people. Senator Talha expressed serious concern over issuance of large number of mobile SIMs on one CNIC saying that this provision has enabled the terrorists and criminals to get many SIMs to continue their subversive activities without any hindrance.
He directed the cell-phone companies to reduce the number of cell-phone SIMs to be issued against single CNIC to an individual. “Currently, any person can get 10 mobile SIMs issued against his/her CNIC from single mobile operator, which means total 50 mobile SIMS from five operators and it is too much,” he said.
“No war or campaign can be won without strong and effective intelligence network” said Senator Talha while talking to media outside the Parliament House after Standing Committee meeting. He said that Standing Committee has urged the government to invest more and more to make intelligence network stronger so that the menace of terrorism and crime rate will be brought to an end.