Pakistan has reverified 70m SIMs

Dylan Bushell-Embling
18 Mar 2015

Pakistani regulator PTA has reverified more than 70 million SIMs using the new biometric identification system, and insisted that the April 12 deadline for re-verification will not be extended.

The regulator has also so far blocked 11 million SIMs that have not been reverified, PTA chairman Dr Ismail Shah told a news conference covered by The Express Tribune.

After the April 12 date, all SIMs that have not been reverified will be blocked. But the PTA has extended the period during which a blocked SIM can be unblocked upon re-verification from two months to six months.

Operators have spent tens of millions of dollars to deploy new biometric machines for the SIM reverification drive and process reverification requests.

The PTA also reportedly plans to abolish rules restricting the number of SIMs that can be attached to a single Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC), stating that the new verification system is secure enough that having multiple SIMs registered to a single card is no longer a concern.

The regulator had previously introduced rules capping the number of SIMs that can be registered to one CNIC at five.

Pakistan has been on a SIM reverification drive since September as part of efforts to enhance national security. The policy has already had a significant impact on the nation's operators' subscriber figures.

Shah also revealed that the PTA will also comply with government orders to suspend mobile services in Islamabad on Monday, the date of a parade associated with Pakistan Day, citing security issues.

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