STAFF REPORT ISB: The government is mulling to launch a crackdown against cellular phone companies, which have issued illegal SIM cards used in recent terrorist acts.

According to an official of PTA, the government has directed the cellular companies to block 0.5 million illegal SIM cards or face crackdown against them.

He said that intelligence agencies are also trying to catch the former employee of a cellular company, who issued five SIM cards on the name of a woman hailing from South Punjab. “These SIM cards were later used in the recent Peshawar school attack,” he said.

He said that since 2003, more than 115 current or former employees of these cellular companies are wanted in 365 terrorism related incidents.

The official further said the FIA also believes that around 20,567 SIM cards of various Afghan telecom companies are operational along the border in Pakistan.

According to the official, the government is deliberating to amend the PTA laws and is thinking about including name of cellular companies in terrorism related cases if SIM cards are used in such incidents.

A senior lawyer Babar Sattar has suggested setting new conditions for cellular companies as well as the customers. “The new laws must bound companies to seek proper verification from the customers,” he said.

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