ISLAMABAD: The government is planning to bring all Afghan Refugees’ SIMs under biometric system on the cards issued to them by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
According to a press statement issued here on Sunday, this was revealed by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman Ismail Shah while addressing a seminar. Afghanis having refugee cards and their SIMs will be will be verified.
According to the available data, about 1.2 million Afghan refugees’ and their SIMs’ verification process may be initiated soon. The PTA chairman said the government has decided to bring all SIMs in the name of Afghanis who used Pakistani cellular facility. Up to April 12, he said, 35,000 Afghan nationals have had SIMs on their own cards.
He said by 2025 there would be need of about two billion SIMs of all mobile operators and the government is properly planning for it. In this regard, the system has been upgraded and localisation of data storage is all under consideration. These SIMs might be used in power and water metres and other utility services, the chairman added.
He said that after biometric verification the total number of active verified SIMs would reach 108 million by April 12, however, about .2 million blocked or unverified SIMs were being verified on daily bases. In this way, he said the number of verified SIMs would rise with the increase in the verification process.