Efforts Underway to Block Signals from Afghan Telcos on Pakistani Side of Border: PTA

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has written a letter to Meta on the issue of the use of WhatsApp by Afghan numbers in Pakistani border areas.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has submitted a response to the Ministry of Interior regarding the use of open Wi-Fi and Afghan SIMs in border areas.

According to the PTA, efforts are underway to block Afghan mobile and international signals in the Pakistani border area, but this is technically not possible. The authority blocked the international roaming of Afghan SIMs in Pakistan back in 2014. The roaming of Pakistani SIMs in Afghanistan was completely stopped in 2023. SIM cards used in acts of terrorism have been entirely blocked in the country.

According to the PTA, in alignment with the recommendations of the International Telecommunication Union, this issue must be resolved administratively and diplomatically. The PTA stated that it has also raised the issue of Afghan SIMs being used in Pakistani areas with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, no response has been received from the Afghan government.

The PTA report stated that terrorists and criminals have used free Wi-Fi for their operations. Free Wi-Fi at BRT Bus Stops in Peshawar was utilized for making WhatsApp calls without SIM cards. The PTA has recommended that a one-time password for free Wi-Fi should be made mandatory for the respective number.

The PTA has also recommended that franchise-level binding of SIM stock and subsequent retail-level binding should be ensured. The SIM seller’s thumbprint must be linked to the login for device identification.

The PTA has also proposed that identity card numbers associated with terrorism should be temporarily blocked pending re-verification. According to the PTA, to curb the activities of individuals engaged in the illicit sale of SIM cards, the FIA should investigate ongoing cases of illegal SIM issuance by linking them to national security.

Source: Pro Pakistani

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