Ever since the current government has imposed taxes and duties on the import of mobile devices in Pakistan, the illegal channels of registering mobile phone has become a norm. The number is amplifying and it is alarming already. In a latest revelation, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has received some mammoth 20,000 complaints regarding the illegal registration of mobile devices in Pakistan.
While speaking to Express Tribune, one of the PTA officials said that the offenders are looking for illegal means to dodge the hefty taxes which are imposed by the government. The criminals steal passengers’ data including passport numbers who travel abroad from Pakistan. Thereafter, they register the mobile devices by entering their passport numbers and the device gets registered under their [passport holder] name.
The mobile devices are registered illegally through Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS). According to the PTA official, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was also approached and were handed over hundreds of cases for the same. Subsequently, FIA held quite a few culprits.
International travelers are robbed off their legal right
Because the offenders are misusing the travelers’ information, genuine international passengers are facing this problem of exercising their legal right to register a mobile device under DIRBS tax and duty-free method. With every passing day, the number of complaints are increasing and despite FIA is informed about the illicitness. The PTA official was of the view that the number of complaints and limited handlers of those complaints are making things difficult for the authorities. He also said that the matter will be prolonged and is not going to be solved anytime sooner.
In addition, the travelers also face the similar problem at the Pakistan airports since the airport authorities or the custom representatives haven’t deployed individuals to manage the legal registration of mobile devices.
The official of the PTA somewhat criticized the current government by stating:
“PTI government haphazardly imposed heavy duties and taxes on mobile phones. As a result, the telecom regulators and other government agencies were not fully prepared”
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Blocked phones are being unblocked
PTA is blocking all such phones which are either not being registered timely or which are registered illegally. However, depending upon the handset, the blocked devices are being blocked from Rs2,000 to Rs5,000. Senate standing committee and Ministry of IT also raised this issue in the senate.
In order to cope these alarming issue, the government along with the authorities need to find a rapid solution or else the situation might get worse with every passing day since international travelers are genuinely being robbed of exercising their legal right.