Late-night packages: Telcos challenge PTA's order in IHC

Published: November 22, 2012
Packages are not right for our youth, says a lawmaker Kalsoom Parveen. PHOTO: FILE

Packages are not right for our youth, says a lawmaker Kalsoom Parveen. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Mobile phone companies challenged the latest Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) order of banning cheap, late-night calls in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday.

“We received the directive the day before yesterday and have challenged it in the IHC. We can’t comment on it because it is a judicial matter now,” said Aamir Pasha, a spokesman for a leading mobile phone company Ufone.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had ordered mobile phone companies to ban cheap, late-night calling rates because they allegedly promote vulgarity among young men and women.

The PTA said it asked companies to suspend attractive night-time rates in keeping with government policy.

“We have issued the directive to all the mobile telephone companies to shelve night call packages. The step was taken after lengthy discussions,” PTA spokeswoman Malahat Rab told AFP.

“These directives are issued in the light of the government decisions and this decision has also been taken by the government,” she said.

Members of parliament also demanded action.

“We strongly object to the night phone packages and recommended that the PTA either fix a time limit for this facility or ban it,” said Kalsoom Perveen, who heads the committee in the upper house of parliament that made the recommendation.

“These packages are not right for our youth,” she told AFP.

Shafqat Hayayt Khan, an opposition lawmaker who sits on the information technology committee in the lower house, also backed the ban.

“There is no doubt that these cheap night call rates packages are promoting vulgarity. We will make the PTA implement this decision,” he said.

Pakistan is no stranger to clamping down on phone and Internet services.

Mobile networks have been shut down to prevent militant attacks and Pakistan has since mid-September blocked access to YouTube to protest against an anti-Islam film.

In November 2011, the PTA also tried to ban nearly 1,700 “obscene” words from text messages, but the move was met with uproar – both at the attempted censorship and the inclusion of innocuous terms such as “lotion”, “athlete’s foot” and “idiot”.

In 2010, Pakistan shut down Facebook for nearly two weeks in a storm of controversy about blasphemy and continues to restrict hundreds of online links.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Pessimist
    Nov 22, 2012 - 5:32PM

    What a farce! There are bombs exploding everywhere, target killings across the country and yet our lawmakers are worried about late night call packages. Please do not worry about us youth. We will eventually grow out of this phase, all youths do.

    “These packages are not right for our youth”

    With all due respect, you have no right to give us moral guidance. What exactly have you achieved in these past five years? Absolutely nothing!Recommend

  • anon
    Nov 22, 2012 - 5:37PM

    And no vulgarity can be spread or promoted during the day time?


  • Careless Whispers
    Nov 22, 2012 - 5:41PM

    why don’t we ban all these good for nothing ministers…. yeah


  • Peshawar Guy
    Nov 22, 2012 - 6:26PM

    SO WHAT !
    we got VIBER, Tango and so many other apps .. FORGET PTA guys !


  • WTH
    Nov 22, 2012 - 6:27PM

    Here’s your DEMOCRATIC Government. All those of you who hate on Musharaf, HE is who liberalized everything. There were always restrictions, it’s just that everyone has gotten used to what Musharaf did for this Country, including free media and press. YET you all decided to bring these idiots into power.

    WE all deserve to suffer, and suffer we shall. I feel no sympathy for myself or anyone else, as we are the people who have put this country in the situation it is in now.


  • Jibran
    Nov 22, 2012 - 6:54PM

    *”PTA had ordered mobile phone companies to ban cheap, late-night calling rates because they allegedly promote vulgarity among young men and women.”*

    Is PTA getting direct instructions from our moral brigade in the judiciary? I doubt Telcos would get any respite. Remember there is already a case pending against the vulgarity in the electronic media.Recommend

  • Nov 22, 2012 - 7:17PM

    hahahahaaa…PTA….hahahah…our govt….hahahahaha….tum sb k fitty mu


  • Sajid
    Nov 22, 2012 - 7:40PM

    Mobile companies in Pakistan [many in collaboration with foreign companies/investors] have a strong motive to earn, more and more and more.

    I doesn’t matter to them if our nation’s youngsters are spoiled by their late-night packages.

    It is a proverb of English early to bed, early to rise and this is ONE of the reason why West is successful.

    But here, no body cares… So much so that they challenged PTA order in the IHC.

    Let’s hope that the Judge decides it as ‘ONE of the Nation’s Disaster’


  • ASQ
    Nov 22, 2012 - 7:53PM

    and what about ban on corruption???this is the most hypocritical nation in the world!!!!!flesh isn’t the ill of this society!!!!


  • khan
    Nov 22, 2012 - 8:20PM

    Perfect post to see people who actually care about the country or just speak up against authorities only when what they want is disturbed. Please have mercy on yourself and your children. I am totally with PTA on this. Sleep early wake up early say salah rather than up all night talking to friends.

    This surely is a bold step, well done PTA


  • A Khan
    Nov 22, 2012 - 8:52PM



  • Kamran Naqvi
    Nov 22, 2012 - 10:33PM

    Moral brigade !


  • Dr. Rizvi
    Nov 22, 2012 - 11:50PM

    no youth is being spoiled by late night packages. And people in the comments who are quoting english proverbs and western society. There is almost no internet censorship free 3g calls(charged by their carriers on data) but their youth is better in many aspects than us. Why? because they are educated. Not literate .If u give good quality education to a nation no matter how many channels you open for them , Most of them will utilize the channel for good though there is always a bad element in every society. Instead of imposing stupid bans we should eliminate the root causes of every problem. If our youth is given quality education early jobs i can guarntee this so called vulgarity will decrease rapidly. By banning you will further provoke worse activities. It will do more har than good. Trust me.


  • numbersnumbers
    Nov 23, 2012 - 3:31AM

    Maybe Pakistan should raise cell phone rates 100 fold to “protect our youth”! And while they are at it they should ban all TV shows to”protect our youth” and censor all print media to “protect our youth”! Just bring in some North Korean communication “experts” to guide the PTA for this noble exercise!


  • Abdul
    Nov 23, 2012 - 4:29AM

    Our tax money fund this corrupt government and now they are going to decide what is good or bad for us……………..Come on people do they think that people of our nation are dumb and cannot make the right choices for themselves.

    Please be the civil servants you are and don’t try to be our mother and father and don’t tell us what is good or bad for us.


  • khalil ahmad nasir
    Nov 23, 2012 - 4:39AM

    the govt should not ban these packages.


  • babar
    Nov 23, 2012 - 6:55AM

    It’s certainly a good action taken by the PTA wether willingly or otherwise. It will not be easily digested by some quarters who want to see the rotten culture prevail in Pakistan too. I’m asking these people what teenagers were getting out of these late night packages? Were there probability assignments those were under discussion or the lust that is ruining our young minds? For God’s sake, try to create healthier environment where our kids could learn what is modesty, what are the moral values that Islam want to see within us. Thanks


  • Asif Kaneria
    Nov 27, 2012 - 7:03PM

    I approve and appreciate PTA’s step.

    I have used the night packages in early years and lost my job as I was awake all night talking to girls and could not stay alert during the day. We are humans we cannot keep awake 24 hours of the day. Lack of sleep due to these packages made dull and enervated. Same is happening to all other victims of night packages. They are worthless for a student or a youngster who has just started his career.

    Night packages in an illiterate society like ours, are nothing but a waste of time for the majority. The people who are opposing the decision here are from the very small minority of our country and may be they use the night packages for some productive purpose.

    However, most of the youth that has the mobile phone in cities as well as villages is unaware of its correct use and they merely use it for either infatuating or being infatuated. They exchange dozens if not hundreds of useless and vulgar SMS with their friends. These angry comments are only due to sanguine emotions and shortsightedness of these teenage boys and girls. They cannot see the hazard and threats as they are not mature at this stage.


  • Sajid
    Nov 29, 2012 - 1:08PM

    Very well written Asif


  • Mehak
    Dec 1, 2012 - 4:56PM

    @Asif Kaneria:
    Asif you used those night packages to talk to girls all night even when you had work in the morning. If you were mature enough to get a job then you should have been mature enough to be responsible about it and get enough sleep. You can not blame that on the late night packages. People have the right to think for themselves and make their own choices, the government can’t control that and they have no right to. Our country is not only illiterate in the sense of our youth but it’s also this country’s leaders. Making bans like these does not prevent anything and there are always other ways to do what you want to do.


  • abc
    Dec 14, 2012 - 9:03PM

    Ban on late night packages is a good decision and the PTA may also make rules for SIM limits as well. it will not only help to reduce vulgarity in young generation but also last good effect on health…….. it will also help to count fake call and other crimes which is carried with the helps of a large no of mobile connections/SIM…


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