Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication was told by PTA that the leakage of passenger’s data acquired during the process of mobile registration is being misused with connivance of travel agents and the data available at airport. The Committee, however, observed that mobile phones are also being registered in the names of children and it cannot happen without some internal people being involved. The Committee strongly proposed having a fool proof system of data security and making the people aware first and then put such bars on public. The Committee members remarked that the system was launched to curb smuggling but it has done less good and more problems for customers.
The PTA official told the meeting that mobile registration system has become totally automated and the system has been integrated with FBR and is highly secure. The Committee, however, did not buy the argument that the system is causing any convenience. The Committee members said that smuggling is there because there is no mobile phone manufacturing industry in the country and phones are being smuggled in huge numbers till date. The Committee members also said that the committee has not been given any proper percentage
The PTA told the meeting that 663,622 personal users registered themselves since February. Out of these 440,821 were registered under FBI baggage rule exemption with no tax, 12,293 were registered under duty paid category. It was told that that against 5.89 million commercial mobile phone importers in 2016, an increase to 9.27 million commercially imported phones were registered in 2019. The Committee observed that the system put in place by PTA and FBR is not properly publicised in public and decided to call FBR and FIA in next meeting to brief the committee on the system in addition to a briefing by PTA.
While discussing the matter of the nominal cost being taken to register the mobile phones and the money not being sent to the state, the mover said that people at local shops are registering phones without following any due process and identity details. Member PTA told the committee that this is occurring as part of the same misuse of passenger’s information which is put in the portal and the phone gets registered. He said that PTA on receiving complaints refers the inquiry to FIA.
While briefing the Committee on the project of IT park in Islamabad the project director Amir Ahmed told that the proposed IT park will cover 14.9 acres total land area and the total project cost is $88,380,020 only 12 million of which is through PSDP and the rest by EXIM bank funding. The project will complete by 31 August 2022 and will have IT offices, laboratories, incubation centres, academia industry linkage opportunities as well as will provide space for IT infrastructure to private businesses and new entrepreneurs.
The meeting was held under the chairpersonship of Senator Rubina Khalid here at the Parliament House on Wednesday and was attended among others by Senators Kalsoom Parveen, Rukhsana Zuberi, Faisal Javed, Ghous Muhammad Niazi, Abdur Rehman Malik, Mian Ateeq Shaikh, Taj Afridi, Joint Secretary IT Taimur Khan, Member PTA Khawar Siddique.