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Date Posted: 21:55:06 08/31/07 Fri
Author: Shahnaz
Subject: MOBILE THEFTS AND GENERAL SECURITY

By Shahnaz 06 December 2006

The Government of His Excellency General Pervaiz Musharraf is very actively and appreciably extending its hand in tackling the international terrorism. The efforts and practical contributions made by Pakistan in this field have internationally been recognized but is the Government really aware of or really concerned about security concern within Pakistan? About a month or so back there was a news item Interior Minister Mr. Aftab Sherpao telling authorities have arrested 8 criminals through the source of their mobile phones. My mind say all these accused must be innocent but only for sin of holding a stolen mobile bought at cheaper rates.

A few months back my husband came from abroad. For his temporary stay for use in Pakistan he wanted to buy a Pakistani mobile chip/SIM. Shopping from a small general stores he enquired from the shopkeeper if there was any mobile company sales office nearby. The shopkeeper told all companies SIMs were available in his own shop. My husband bought one, used it for a month and on the day of his return back abroad he removed this SIM and replaced his foreign country SIM. Being a cautious man having served abroad for more than 20 years in Uniform he knew the sensitivity of keeping an idle SIM. He wanted to destroy it by breaking but during his lost minute shopping outside this SIM got dropped somewhere. However he left Pakistan and immediately from abroad he in writing requested CPLC, PTA, our area Police and the telecommunication company to block the SIM. Much propagated CPLC not realizing the importance of immediate blocking after about two weeks informed my husband that he can contact the company concerned directly. CPLC perhaps does not know that CPLC was formed due to reason the Police and such companies were not listening to such direct complaints by people. If people are required to go directly to the companies in case of loss or theft of mobiles, then wy the hell there is an On Line costly mobile theft reporting system. PTA as usual merely acknowledged receipt while Police never. The telecommunication company first advised my husband to attend to the nearest customer service center for lodging a report. My husband told them to read his complaint with presence of mind that he was abroad, Now the company has shocked my husband telling him that the SIM/Chip number was not registered in his name hence cannot be blocked. The company has advised my husband to provide copy of service agreement which he had signed while purchasing the SIM. Such an agreement was never presented to my husband and in fact it is our first knowledge as these Chips and SIMs are sold in shops merely on strength of copies of National Identity Card.

Two months back the Interior Minister Mr. Aftab Sherpao in a news item said the authorities have arrested 8 suspected criminals tracing them through mobiles they used. My husband long uniformed experienced commented he believed these suspects more likely are innocent victims of holding the stolen mobiles which concerned sections did not block timely and these people might have bought in greed on throw away prices. When my husband was in Pakistan and the above news item was being telecast same day in English dailies a large article had appeared how there was no proper record of mobile subscribers in as much as in one name there were 8000 telephone connections. My husband commented the person in whose name these 8000 connections are surely is not aware of because if a serious investigation is made once when he purchased his mobile, the copy of his NIC he submitted is be re-copied and reused by shopkeepers keepers and vested interests. How risky this system is. All relevant quarters are playing a sort of criminal role by remaining silent that these mobile chips are being sold without any proper documentation. The attitude of authorities can well be understood that when it had dawned on them there are eg. 8000 phones in one name and there are many other cases as per press reports, why then serious action in apprehending such companies, sales agents, sub agents has not been taken. Not blocking the SIMs immediately on report in itself I think is a big role in not taking misuse of mobiles a serious thing for protection of innocent common man who does nto know the intricacies. CPLC has created On Line Mobile Theft Report Form. If the Government is serious then Mobile Theft Report Systems may be introduced on Police, PTA, CPLC and concerned telecommunication companies web sites but on submissionof report the system should auto generate a Complaint Number which could be used by the reporting person as a defence. At present CPLC web just says thank you for recording your complaint but does not give any complain reference and at the time of need one can not ever prove if he ever timely reported the crime. This is the only first step if there actually is any interest for the common man,

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