Deadline for SIM verification ends todayArchive
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has blocked more than 16.7 million connections as the deadline for the biometric SIM verification ends on Sunday.
As the unprecedented biometric SIM verification (BVS) reaches its deadline, more than 94 million connections were verified.
Following the directions from the Ministry of Interior, the PTA had 91 days to authenticate 103 million connections and block the disowned SIMs under the government’s National Action Plan (NAP). The exercise of authenticating connections through the BVS began on January 12. It was undertaken after the terror attack on the Army Public School Peshawar on December 16, 2014.
The biometric re-verification system required all SIM owners to personally visit sale points set up by cellular mobile operators across the country to get their connections re-verified through thumb impressions.
“More than 78 million SIMs were re-verified through the BVS and the numbers are going up because there are subscribers who are still getting their antecedents verified. About 17 million disowned SIMs have been blocked,” said PTA spokesman Khuram Mehran, adding the April 12 deadline would not be extended.
The spokesman said the authority had given an ample time to the subscribers to get their connections re-verified. The government and cellular operators ran public service messages and advertisements asking the subscribers to get their connections re-verified. The exercise of blocking SIMs will commence after April 12.
The cellular companies will be pulling back their booths set up for the drive in the last three months in less frequented shopping centres and malls.
“Those who could not get their SIMs verified will now have to visit the customer centres of the cellular companies for their thumb impressions. We will give another two to three days to the subscribers to see how many people turn up at these booths and sale points before we withdraw them,” said an official in Mobilink.
Telenor also said it too would be withdrawing most of its SIM re-verification booths and leave a few in the crowded places such as Centaurus etc.
As many as 80,000 biometric verification machines worth $300 to $400 each were installed throughout the country.
Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2015
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