IHC Bars Blocking of Non-Filer’s SIMs Till May 27

In a significant development, Islamabad High Court (IHC)  stayed the government’s decision to block the mobile phone SIMs of non-tax filers till May 27. Recently, a single bench of IHC conducted a hearing of the petition of a private telecom operator through its counsel Barrister Salman Akram Raja. Chief Justice of IHC Justice Aamer Farooq was part of the bench. During the hearing, a stay order was issued regarding the blocking of non-filers SIMs.

IHC Stays Govt’s Decision to Block Non-Filers’ SIMs

According to the sources, the petitioner’s lawyer contended that the constitutional amendment done in this regard violated the basic rights of freedom of business granted in Article 18. Moreover, he took the stance that there can be no legislation delinquent to the fundamental rights given in the Constitution.  Even though, the government cannot get the authority to block people’s mobile phone SIMs by amending the law.

Barrister Salman Akram Raja asserted that there would be a loss of Rs1 billion annually if more than 500,000 SIMs were blocked. After issuing the stay order, the IHC adjourned the hearing of the case till May 27. Furthermore, the court directed the respondents to submit a response in this regard.

For all those unaware, FBR initiated the process of blocking 506,671 mobile phone SIMs belonging to non-filers of tax returns. The telecom operators started sending warning messages to the first batch of non-filers. Reports claim that SIMs of 5,000 individuals will be blocked in the first phase. The FBR, in collaboration with telecom operators, has planned a phased approach to handle the process effectively. The telecom operators have decided to manually block SIMs in small groups. Anyhow, the list of these people was sent to the telecom operators by the FBR. These warnings serve as an alert for people who fail to file their tax returns.

Check out: PTA Refuses to Follow FBR’s SIM Blocking Order: Here’s Why?

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Laiba Mohsin

Laiba is an Electrical Engineer seeking a placement to gain hands-on experience in relevant areas of telecommunications. She likes to write about tech and gadgets. She loves shopping, traveling and exploring things.

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