Staff Report ISD: Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) and mobile phone operators has declared that biometric verification process of SIMs will be completed before the April 12 deadline.

Almost 70.5 million SIMs out of around 136 million were verified against 54 million computerized national identity cards (CNIC) and approximately 11 million SIMs have been disowned by the customers.

Dr Syed Ismail Shah, Chairman PTA has stated that there will be no further extension after this new deadline. He further added that such a system was started last year and all the operators approved to issue new SIMs through biometric system and they have also invested a huge amount in this regard. He applauded the continuing efforts of all operators, their franchises and retail network in order to meet dead line according to Ministry of Interior orders. Telecommunication is making sincere efforts to verify rest of the SIMs before the end of the final deadline.

In order to ensure accomplishment of the governments National Action Plan (NAP), PTA in collaboration with five telecom operators had taken actions.

Michael Patrick Foley, Telenor CEO said that SIMs verification task was a difficult and costly for them but they succeeded because of strong commitment of the operators to support governments role to counter terrorism in the country. He appreciated Pakistan by saying that it is an ideal place for investment thats why his company has invested more than 600 million dollars last year in order to expand and ensure quality services to users. He also admitted issues with regard to verification such as malfunction of biometric machine or over charging by some retailers.

Jeffrey Hedberg,CEO Mobilink stated same sentence that Pakistan is best option for investment in telecom sector.

Naveed Khalid Butt, Chief Officer Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, said that for SIM verification telecom industry jointly organized more than 80 000 biometric machines. To provide easy access to consumers these machines have been handed over to various retailers across Pakistan. They adopted such advanced methods and activities to access maximum number of people such as reach out programs where biometric verification teams visit government organizations universities press clubs and other similar organizations and door to door verification.

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