ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday issued notices to Secretaries of Interior and Information Technology & Telecommunications Ministries, Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA), chief executives of all the telecommunication companies and Inspector General (IG) Islamabad police in a petition moved against non-registered mobile phone SIMs.
Chief Justice (CJ) IHC Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi also issued directions to the respondents to submit their reply within ten days in this regard.
G M Chaudhry advocate filed the petition before the IHC against issuance of non-registered mobile phone SIMs and contended that the telecom companies be charged as abettor in all criminal incidents wherein non-registered SIMs are used for commission of offence.
He maintained before the court that the crime rate has been increased manifold due to availability of non-registered SIMs as the telecom companies provide easy communication and mobility to criminal elements.
“Criminals are keeping multiple SIMs to contact their intending victims that is resulting in the incidents like extortion, kidnapping, abduction and other criminal activities,” he added.
Chaudhary further argued that the chief executive officers (CEOs) of the concerned telecom companies be charged as abettor in all criminal incidents wherein non-registered SIMs were used for commission of offence.
He adopted before the court that the police authorities are unable to control criminal activities as they are not possessing latest equipment regarding SIM locations that is ‘mobile SIM locator’ as well as call data recorders to know about exact position of the caller as well as record of calls from such SIMs within reasonable time due to getting such facilities from other agencies.
G M Chaudhary prayed to the court that the federal government should provide such equipment to police authorities for control of criminal activities and protection and security of the citizens.
He added that there were so many incidents when the petitioner was harassed and threatened through mobile telecommunication services, provided directly or indirectly by the respondents.
“The respondents failed to provide any information about any such person who committed such offence by taking the plea of secrecy and confidentiality whereas there is no concept of confidentiality or secrecy in the telecommunication laws about name and address of any user,” he maintained.
He continued that it is also noteworthy that prior to deregulation and privatization of telecommunication services, there was no concept of secrecy and confidentiality of user or customer names as the erstwhile predecessor of all telephone services i.e. Telephone and Telegraph Department (T&T Deptt.) and even the Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation (PTC) was regularly publishing telephone directory on yearly basis.
He stated that the so-called and illegal veil of secrecy and confidentiality are imposed only to conceal criminal activities.
G M Chaudhary said that the respondents were duty bound to take care of interests of the users/customers and evolve a transparent policy for their protection as it is their legal obligations.
Referring to the news items published in print media, he said that there are more than 4 million unknown/unregistered SIMs issued by the telecom companies.
He prayed to the court to direct the respondents to formulate policy for the protection of citizens in the above said circumstances.