The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has summoned the chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the secretary of the interior ministry and chief executives of all of the country’s mobile operators to answer allegations over the sale of unregistered SIMs. Local news portal The International News writes that chief justice Dost Muhammad Khan claims that telecoms executives have sanctioned the sale of unregistered SIMs to avoid paying taxes, and that the interior ministry has used unregistered SIMs to record calls for the purpose of blackmail. Khan added that neither the government, nor the PTA paid enough attention to the issue, given the use of illegal SIMs in serious crime and terrorist activities. The PHC claims that there are currently around 50 million SIMs in circulation for which the information is incorrect. For its part, the PTA has been unable to act effectively for more than six months, paralysed by the sacking and resignation of its chairman and senior officials respectively. Indeed, the government has failed to meet an order from the Supreme Court on 2 September ordering the state to appoint people to the vacant posts within ten days.
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