FIA Crackdown in Karachi & Gujranwala; More Arrest on Illegal Mobile Registration

FIA Cybercrime circle continues its crackdown arresting the mafia groups in Karachi & Gujranwala involved in illegal activities of steeling passport Identities for mobile registration. Earlier a group was also arrested from Rawalpindi. The arrested gangs shown on electronic media were involved in steeling the passport information of overseas Pakistani and used to register smuggled and blocked phones against them. One of the Gang included a travel agency of Karachi, who used the passport data of their passengers and the data was sold to the mobile shopkeepers. It is learnt that PTA has also provided a further list of 1326 people, whom passport data has been used in this immoral and illegal activity. FIA has warned travel agents, shopkeepers and consumers against use of such data for registration of illegal or blocked phones. They have warned of serious consequences that includes 07 year imprisonment and fine or both as per PECA rules.  All such illegally registered phones could be traced back by FIA.

It is also reported that PTA and FIA are also taking other prevention measures against the illegal IMEI registration. These steps are being taken against the miscreants that involved in stealing the passport information in a systematic way, and activating the smuggled phones by using the stolen passport data or cloning the mobile phones. PTA and FIA has received complaints that when they try to register their phone via PTA’s legitimate process, they get the message that your passport has already been used and a request to pay the tax.

FIA Cybercrime circle has last week arrested smuggling groups involved in illegal activities of mobile registration from Karachi and Gujranwala. In Karachi, the group included a travel agent and shopkeepers where the travel agent was found steeling passport information of overseas Pakistani and this was sold to mobile shopkeepers who used the data for registering the phones against them. It is reported that PTA has also provided a list of 1326 people, whose passport data has been used in this immoral activity.

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In Gujranwala, a smugglers group has also been arrested. The group, consisted of five people that has stolen passport information and used the data to register the smuggled smartphones. Almost 5000 passports information of umrah performers was being illegally. Media reports disclosed that travel agent and shopkeepers were both involved in this criminal activity.

The step taken FIA Cybercrime circle is appreciable by the mobile importers association who says that such black sheep needs to be identified and brought to task to protect consumers and interest of the legal importers. The illegal imports the association said should be discouraged by all as it is making a major dent in the country import revenues and protect consumer rights.

The Senate Committee IT in its meeting last week has also stressed upon FBR and FIA to check the gangs involved in passport identity theft for registration and asked to take further steps in improving the process for providing convenience to the consumers. Law enforcement experts are of the opinion that illegal phones that used to come without any registration system are a major source of criminal activities and such crackdown are very essential. Any leniency shown to such gangs could no doubt be harmful for the national interest of the country.