PM allows mobile phone companies to sell SIMs, number portability

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf Thursday directed mobile companies to continue sale of mobile phone SIM cards from their own business and franchise centers after due verification from National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

The Prime Minister after meeting with a delegation of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of private cellular operators at the PM House, however said the sale of SIMs from retail network shall remain suspended until the deployment of biometrics devices at each center. The Prime Minister also directed withdrawal of the condition of delivery of SIMs by couriers and the need for showing second identity for issuance of SIMs.The earlier restriction imposed on mobile number portability (MNP) was also withdrawn and the present arrangement of number portability would continue due to high integrity of data.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf directed the Ministries of Interior and Information Technology to discuss with Customs and other relevant authorities to streamline import and local assembly of cellular handsets in the country.He said it needs to be ensured that all handsets bear unique identification numbers(IMEI) and handsets without IMEI and duplicate numbers be banned.

Prime Minister said that measures taken by the government in the cellular sector will be guided by the fact that the normal lifestyle of the common man was least affected.The government would also ensure that minimum inconvenience was caused to the masses and every effort will be made to facilitate the cellular companies, he emphasized.The Prime Minister said that the government will consult all stakeholders before taking decisions on issues concerning the cellular sector.

Prime Minister Ashraf said Pakistan was facing the menace of terrorism which has affected lifestyles and certain restrictions need to be accepted for greater good of the masses.The Prime Minister said the recent decision to block mobile phones in certain cities during Moharram was taken in national interest as it was unavoidable and extremely necessary, as safety  and security of life and property was of paramount importance.Those who attended the meeting included Prime Minister’s Advisor on IT, Dr. Basit Riaz, Secretary Interior Khawaja Siddique Akbar, Chairman PTA Mr Farooq Awan, Secretary IT and other senior officials.