Suspending cellular services on Eid Miladun Nabi helped prevent terror activity: Malik

Interior Minister directs telcos to install biometric systems at outlets selling SIMs by March.

January 26, 2013
Malik claims suspension of cellular services was not an unilateral decision of the government, rather it was requested by respective provincial governments. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Saturday said that illegal mobile SIMS are used in terrorist activities across the country and that suspending cell phone services on Eid Miladun Nabi helped stave off violence on Eid Miladun Nabi.

Talking to media persons here outside the Parliament House, Malik claimed that due to the closure of mobile services across in over 50 cities and towns, no act of terrorism took place in violence prone cities of Karachi and Quetta during Eid Miladun Nabi.

Minister added that the decision to suspend cell phone services was not taken unilaterally by the federal government, rather it was done on the request of respective provinces, including Punjab.

Biometric systems at SIM sale points

Malik on Saturday asked the mobile phone operators to complete installation of biometric systems, including fingerprint readers, at SIM sale points by February 28.

The minister said the biometric systems can help confirm the identity of mobile phone users since unregistered SIMs had become "instruments for terrorists to unleash violence."

After banning the sale of SIMs at retail outlets, the telecom regulator had asked all the mobile phone companies to install biometric systems at their stores for verifying the identity of customers till February 28.

Experts say biometric systems can communicate instantaneously with the data servers and validate the Computerised National Identity Cards (CNIC) holders. Additionally, there is another module that can use GPRS or EDGE services to communicate with servers and can be deployed at retail outlets or at remote locations to verify the customer's identity against the provided CNIC before selling a sim.

Furthermore, users have been directed to register their mobile sims by February 1.

YouTube blocking

Responding to a question, Malik said that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had been directed to install filtration system for blocking unwanted websites.

After the installation of the filtration system, YouTube would be unblocked.

Malik later tweeted that the filter will be put in place within a week.
"YouTube will be unblocked only after the installation of efficient filter. PTA, MoIT to install the said filter in a week. PTA to act fast."


Salman | 8 years ago | Reply

Mr. Minister, since all you can do is shut down networks to prevent terrorist activities, why don’t you just switch them off permanently? That should help make your job easier. And while you are at it, turn off the internet and TV networks too because they promote terrorism!!!

Mohammad Ali Siddiqui | 8 years ago | Reply

The readers of these valued columns may kindly note the following yearly schedule during which days the mobile phone service may be shut down to curb the menace of terrorism in the country.

9th and 10th of Moharram 20th Safar (Chulum) 12th Rabi-ul-Awwal 28th Rajab 15th Shaban 3 days of Eid-ul-Fitr 10th Zil-Hajj 4 days of Eid-ul-Azha 5th day of February. 23rd March 1st May 1st July 14th August 11th September 17th September 19th November 25th to 31st December

In case if there is a need from Security Point of View, the mobile shut down days may increase without any advance notice.

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