Ministry to allow 90 days for SIM re-verification

12 Jan 2015

The Interior Ministry, the Ministry of IT and Telecom (MoITT) and the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) have agreed terms for the re-verification of the nation’s SIM cards via a biometric verification system within 90 days, Pro Pakistani writes, citing government sources. After pressured by the Interior Ministry to complete the process in just 28 days, Pakistan’s mobile operators proposed an eleven-month deadline as a more realistic target for the re-registration process, given that more than 100 million cellular SIMs would need to be checked. Following a flurry of meetings in recent weeks, the Interior Ministry conceded an extension to 90 days for the re-verification, any SIMs that have not been verified within that timeframe will be blocked, a PTA spokesperson told the news outlet. Despite the additional time, operators remain critical of the plans, claiming that as many as 40% active SIMs could be blocked as a result of the measures. The Interior Ministry pushed for the re-verification after it emerged that terrorists involved in the December attack on a school in Peshawar had used unverified SIMs to communicate during the assault. The government is expected to make an announcement regarding the decision today, alongside the launch of public awareness campaign.