Islamabad: Expressing concern over the government’s recent measure of verification of SIMs, cellular companies have told the government that the increased crime rate and terrorist activities within the country is not because of the illegal SIMs, but due to the security lapses by the administration, and that this strategy may cause uncertainties among investors, resulting in billion dollar loss for the country.
The interior ministry has asked the cellular companies to verify about 140 million subscriber identity module (SIM) cards through the Biometric Verification System (BVS) in 28 days and has warned the industry of a crackdown in case they fail to block the illegal SIMs by the given deadline.
However, according to the telecom companies, the deadline is unrealistic. There are 15,000 mobile franchises and outlets across the country, if all of these franchises carry out this process of biometric verification for all 24 hours in a day continuously, even then the task cannot be accomplished within the given deadline. These companies estimate the expense of nearly 6 billion rupees in verification of 140 million SIMs through biometric system and demand that these expenses should be paid from universal service fund, which was established to finance the spread of telecom services by the government of Pakistan.
The latest survey conducted by the GSMA asserts the mobile companies’ stance that mandatory SIM registration cannot guarantee the reduction of terrorism and crimes.