Dawn.com (Peshawar), 24 October 2013
PESHAWAR: Over 40,000 cellphone SIM cards of Afghan telecom companies are operational in Pakistan and most of them are used in acts of terrorism, kidnapping for ransom and extortion.
The information was placed before a Peshawar High Court bench by National Accountability Bureau, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday during the hearing into a case about unregistered SIM cards.
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Head of the legal department of Zong Waqar Ahmad said the roaming agreements existed between Pakistani and Afghan companies with prior approval of PTA and if the court ordered they would stop that facility forthwith. He said the company had been following SOPs given by PTA.
He said a meeting of the companies would be held with the Interior Ministry on Wednesday wherein it would be decided how to further make the SIM card registration mechanism foolproof.
He added that to improve the mechanism, the companies had been planning to introduce a biometric system under which a SIM card would be activated only after thumb verification of the subscriber.
Phi Beta Iota: There is no evidence that all 40,000 SIM cards belong to Afghans. Indeed, there has never been an accurate count of the Taliban (a Pashtun network, not divisible by nationality, and certainly not to be confused with Al Qaeda). One is reminded of Sam Adam's lament in Viet-Nam, “Here we are in a guerilla war and we are not being allowed to count the guerillas.” The attempt to control SIM cards is a good example of doing the wrong things righter. The whole point of governnace is to avoid a revolution by serving the public interest. You should not have to micro-manage SIM cards, nor are SIM cards micro-manageable. It is vastly cheaper — absent corruption, a huge if — to serve the people, rather than attempt to control them and repress them.