PTA keeping an eye out for ‘grey’ SIMs, NA told

Minister tells House authority constantly monitoring phone calls from abroad

Our Correspondent November 18, 2022
PHOTO: file


The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) constantly monitored the number of phone calls from abroad so that suspicious SIMs involved in grey traffic could be identified, the National Assembly was informed on Thursday.

During the NA session presided over by its Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Information Technology and Telecommunication Minister Syed AminuI Haque further told the House in the Question Hour that such suspicious SIMs were blocked as soon as they were detected so that the country would not suffer any loss.

The minister further informed the NA in his written reply that over 4.39 million suspicious SIMs were blocked in the past two years.

He added that many cellular mobile operators (CMOs) were fined Rs150 million for irregularities in issuing grey SIMs.

Aviation and Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique told the NA that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had made a profit of around Rs228.33 billion in the past three years.

In his written response, the aviation minister informed the House that In 2019, the CAA had earned Rs84.72 billion, Rs52 billion in 2020-21 and Rs91.52 billion in 2021-22.

He stated that the CAA had made Rs183.75 billion in aeronautical charges.

Rafique added that the authority had earned Rs44.58 billion in non-aeronautical charges.

Speaking about the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) fleet, the minister informed the House that of the national carrier’s 31 aircraft, 26 were operational and five  inactive.

The inactive ones included three Boeing 777 and two ATR 72.

The details of the PIA’s earning and expenditure were also presented before the House.

In the last three years, 22,600 free tickets were provided to PIA officers and other personnel.

The national carrier earned Rs328.67 billion during the last three years.

A total of Rs148.40 billion operational expenses were incurred by the airline during this period.

In the year 2019, the national carrier had an income of Rs147 billion, it was Rs95 billion in 2020 and it stood at Rs86 billion in 2021.

In terms of staff salaries, engines and repairs, the PIA spent a sum of Rs74.55 billion in the year 2019, Rs38.88 billion in 2020 and Rs35 billion in 2021.

The PIA officers were provided with 19,500 domestic and 3,000 international free travel facilities during the three years.

In the year 2020, 8,286 free tickets were distributed to PIA officers, 7,067 in 2021, while 7,249 were handed over to them till September this year.

The PIA, while incurring a total loss of Rs607 billion, had inducted a third Airbus A320 aircraft in its fleet earlier this year.

Experts, however, were not satisfied with the national carrier’s progress that despite all its claims, it had suffered a loss of Rs41.8 billion in the first half of the financial year that ended on June 30, 2022.

The collective loss of the airline is Rs593 billion and there is no end to this bleeding in sight.


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