PTA has maintained that with the implementation of DIRBS significant increase is seen in the commercial import of mobile phones. In the long term, this system will give more dividends toward the elimination of smuggled phones.
The identity credentials of around 44943 international passengers have been stolen to unlock illegal/smuggled mobile phones.
DIRBS to Eliminate Menace of Smuggled Phones- PTA
These revelations were made by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) while briefing the Federal Cabinet which met with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair.
According to the presentation a copy of which is available, the traveling documents i.e. Passport, CNIC copies, etc of around 45000 overseas Pakistanis who traveled to Pakistan were stolen and misused to unlock smuggled phones since the implementation of Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS).
According to PTA data over around 986000 mobiles phones were received for registration. Out of these around 656000 were registered under FBR baggage rule exemption with no tax while around 33000 mobile phones were registered under the duty paid category.
The data of 44943 international travelers were stolen and misused for mobile registration and unlock their mobile phones.
On May 21, 2019, PTA reported 750 cases and sent to FIA and FBR for further action. The individual involved was arrested by FIA in this case. On May 31, 2019, PTA reported 3000 cases and sent to FIA and FBR for action and the travel agent involved in data theft was arrested in Karachi.
On June 16, 2019, PTA reported 40911 cases to FIA and FBR for further action and the cases are under process. Further 282 miscellaneous cases were reported to FIA and FBR for further action and the cases are under process. So a total of 44943 such cases of data theft have been reported so far.
FIA arrested people from Karachi, Lahore, and Gujarat in different cases. According to sources one government official sold 750 data @ of Rs 500 each. Further, a travel agent is also being arrested who stolen data of 1328 people and registered mobile phones.
Airports share travelers data with 12 institutions these included Bureau of Immigration, FBR, NADRA, Directorate of Immigration and Passport, ISI, ISI Headquarter, MI, FIA, Ministry of Interior, IB, Punjab Police CTD, Punjab Police Special Branch, and Special Security Division.
PTA has further recommended biometric verification/registration which is under discussion. PTA is closely cooperating with FIA for providing data of misuse of identity cases on a regular basis. Ongoing effective action by FIA will create deterrence. Further PTA has proposed the withdrawal of baggage rule which would help in addressing the issue.
PTA has proposed a reduction in applicable duties and taxes on mobile phones. FBR may consider the reduction of applicable duties and taxes on mobile devices. It will take away incentives to use illegal means and will promote legal means to import mobile devices.