Senate body for review of mobile phones registration system

ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary body has asked the Ministry of Information Technology (IT) to review its proposed registration system for mobile phones to allow people coming from abroad to bring more than one device for personal use in a year.

“It is illogical to ask passengers arriving in Pakistan to register the mobile phones they have brought as a gift or for their personal use,” said PPP senator Rubina Khalid, who heads the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunications. , in a briefing on Wednesday. .

“This is harassment. It should be eliminated, “Senator Rehman Malik suggested. The committee discussed measures to streamline the process of collecting taxes on mobile phones at airports.

In May last year, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) launched a Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) mechanism to counteract the spread of low-quality contraband phones.

Later, the PTA announced that its anticipated DIRBS would become functional on October 20, after which all unregistered mobile phones would become unusable.

But since then, the Senate committee on IT has led the ministry several times to keep its implementation on hold.

In October, the committee ordered the PTA to postpone the implementation of the telephone registration system, describing the exercise as an overwhelming undertaking as it was difficult to understand and fulfill for people. “This system is too confusing for the highly educated to wrap their heads around.” We can not imagine how those who have no education will understand, “Rubina Khalid had said at the time.

However, the PTA issued a statement that it intended to move forward with the mobile registration system as of December 1. Following pressure from the committee, the ministry extended the phone registration date for people who had phones from 30 days to 60.

The meeting was informed that with the implementation of DIRBS, people who came from abroad could only bring a phone to the country and would have to pay taxes on additional sets.

Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh, of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, asked the IT ministry to differentiate between smuggling and people who bring phones for personal use. He said that only two countries in the world had such a system and that it was not an impracticable system.

Senator Faisal Javed of PTI spoke in favor of the system, saying it was for the “greater good.”

“However, the telephone registration system should be simplified without causing inconvenience to people,” said Faisal Javed.

The meeting was informed that since January, people from abroad had requested the registration of 34,000 mobile phones. Of these, 116 individuals paid taxes on additional telephones for a value of Rs 1.5 million.