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Sale of illegal SIM cards on the increase in Takhar

Sale of illegal SIM cards on the increase in Takhar

Jun 07, 2017 - 15:55

TALOQAN (Pajhwok): The Afghanistaninfo-icon Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) has noted an increase in the number of illegal SIM cards used in criminal activities in northern Takhar province.

ATRA head for Takhar Qayamuddin Weqar said in an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News the number of illegal SIM cards had sharply risen in the province in recent past.

Based on law, SIM cards should be sold inactive only by authorised dealers, the official said, explaining the cards had be activated within 24 hours of purchase.

“But it is not the case in Takhar, where SIM cards are pre-activated in violation of the relevant rule. Such cards are used for kidnapping, threatening calls, murdering and other crimes,” he argued.

Weqar said a joint commission comprised of representatives from ATRA, the police headquarters, intelligence office and the attorney office had been created for resolving the problem.

“Despite these measures, SIM cards are still sold illegally in the city,” he complained, saying they were trying to find a solution to the issue in cooperation with telecom companies.

Samiullah, a resident of Taloqan, the capital of Takhar, told Pajhwok he had been threatened with death last year by an unknown person over the telephone.

“When I registered a complaint with police, I came to know the caller used an illegal SIM card,” he revealed. Police investigations showed the SIM card was registered in the name of an elderly man but it was used by someone else.

Mohammad Nasim, another resident of Takhar, said a registered SIM card was sold for 100 afghanis in the province. The sellers do not want to lose customers so they register the cards themselves before sale.

However, the deputy police chief, Col. Syed Kiramatullah Jahangir, said no one had so far complained to police about illegal SIM cards. “We would definitely take action if we receive formal complaints.”

Jahangir urged ATRA to provide police evidence of illegal SIM cards being sold in the province. On the other hand, ATRA said it had collected around 2,000 illegal SIM cards in cooperation with police last year.

MTN, Etisalat and Roshan telecom companies were fined 60 million afghanis for similar violations. The sale of illegal SIM cards is also common in Kabulinfo-icon and other provinces of the country.

Despite the serious consequences of the illegal SIM cards, the practice continues unchecked. No serious steps have so far been taken by the government so far to prevent such sales.


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