PTA to stop Afghan companies’ roaming facility
Peshawar High Court (PHC) directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to stop roaming facility of the cellular companies of Afghanistan in Pakistan.
Enemy state and its secret agencies were controlling shares in the cell-phone companies in Afghanistan and use of the Afghan SIMs and the companies’ roaming facilities were serious threat to the country’s security.
A two-member bench of Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Malik Manzoor Hussain said the court has received authentic reports that 51 percent controlling shares of the cellular companies running in Afghanistan were given to the country hostile to Pakistan or their agencies since long. Describing it as a matter of concern, directed the PTA to stop their roaming facility and SIMs activation within 15 days in the country.
- The bench stated that ban on roaming facility from Afghanistan would be lifted after proper agreement between the two countries that cellular companies and only post-paid users of the companies would be allowed to get the facility in Pakistan after proper identification and verification. The court also directed the PTA, federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments to first make the process transparent with the Afghan government and then allow the identifiable post-paid users only.
- The bench also directed the PTA to stop the use of Afghan SIMs, which was about one million in numbers, being used in major parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal agencies as these were used in kidnapping for ransom, bomb blasts and other criminal activities in the country.
- The court issued bail able arrest warrants for the chief executives and general managers of all the cell-phone companies operating in Pakistan for non-compliance with its order to appear and explain their position about issuance of fake SIMs by the companies in thousands. The bench directed them to appear in court on October 23 by furnishing bail bonds worth Rs500,000 in the court.
PTA regional director Kamran Gandapur submitted in the court that under international agreements the roaming facility was given to cellular companies in Afghanistan. However, he remained silent over the activation of about one million Afghan SIMs in KP and Fata. CBA president Ishtiaq Ibrahim and DAG Iqbal Mohmand requested the court to stop the services of cellular phones for at least one year in KP and Fata for controlling the terrorist and criminal activities. The chief justice observed that he has reports that even police officers have got 10 SIMs through illegal ways.