Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mechanism being devised to control cell phone usage for terrorist activities

Mechanism being devised to control cell phone usage for terrorist activities: Malik | Aug 25th 2012

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik has vowed to devise a mechanism in order to ensure that mobile phones are not used as tool for terrorist activities.

The government has no intention of blocking all unregistered Subscriber Identity Modules (SIMs) immediately as it would cause inconvenience to users besides negatively impacting upon the revenue. A meeting of all stakeholders would be convened to form strategy as how to deal with matter of SIMs issued against fake identity cards or in the name of someone else, he told Radio Pakistan.

The minister proposed that SIMs should be verified against thumb impression of the applicants through the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).

Malik said the issue of SIMs would be resolved keeping in view the foreign investment and interests of cellular operators. He said there would have been many acts of terrorism if cellular service was not suspended in four cities on the eve of Eid and added the government had definite information about a conspiracy hatched to destabilise the country and designs of the enemies were foiled through effective coordination among intelligence and law enforcing agencies. About Naran tragedy, he said it was a terrorist act and not sectarian incident as those killed included both Shias and Sunnis. Malik said he talked to the chief minister Gilgit-Baltistan on the tense situation in the area and he conveyed three demands of the people which have been accepted. These included provision of police escort to passenger traffic for Gilgit-Baltistan, compensation to the heirs of all those who lost their lives and increase in number of PIA flights to the region.

The minister said he has asked PIA to double the existing flights, adding that Gilgit airport would be upgraded to receive jet flights like in Skardu. Answering a question, he said there is an evidence of presence of Taliban in Karachi and action is being taken against them. About the decision to form Interfaith Council, he said it would consist of seven members representing different schools of thought and its chairmanship would be rotated among them on quarterly basis. He said this would be a model initiative and on its success it would be replicated in the provinces.

He said a mega event of Conference on Interfaith Harmony would be held on August 30 to promote tolerance and ensure sectarian harmony and protect rights of minorities. Regarding situation in Balochistan, the minister said it has improved following his detailed briefing to the Senate and exposing of activities of a neighbouring country. Malik once again extended an offer to the estranged Baloch leaders to return to country and talk about resolution of issues.

They should leave their cosy abodes abroad and return to Balochistan if they are genuinely interested in serving the people, he added. About his telephonic conversation with Indian Home Minister, he said they talked about fast-tracking investigations into Mumbai attacks and SMS controversy. Malik said he told his Indian counterpart that Pakistan is ready to take action if evidence was provided about involvement of anyone from Pakistan.

When asked to comment on reported statement of Taliban’s spokesman that they would retaliate if operation was launched in North Waziristan, he said they do so at the instance of someone else. He said it is known that Maulana Fazlullah and Maulvi Faqir are operating from Kunar province of Afghanistan. He said it would not have been possible for them to carry out attacks on this side of the border, martyr our people and take back their own injured without active foreign support. He asked Taliban to surrender arms otherwise the government was determined to take the campaign against terrorism to its logical conclusion.

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