Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has been rounding off all the unregistered mobile phones in Pakistan using its Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) but recently a citizen has complained about the unjust mobile phone tax which is more than the device’s actual worth.
According to City 42, PTA’s website asked the man whose Rs. 1200 mobile phone was unregistered with the authority to pay Rs. 9037 as mobile phone tax in order to get it unblocked. This amount is more than 100% of the feature phone’s actual value.
This situation raises a big question about how the mobile phone tax is being suggested to the owners of unregistered devices across the country. Previously Senator Mian Mohammad Ateeq Shaikh revealed to the Senate standing committee and the Ministry of Information Technology that phones blocked by PTA were being unlocked for Rs. 2000-3000 in the black market.
Now looking at the amount of fee being demanded by the government, it is no shock that people are again turning towards illegal means just to stay with their mobile phones. Also, since the system is automated, it is a possibility that there are other victims who are suffering because of the same problem.
PTA started blocking 2.8 million unregistered phones earlier this year and was later embroiled in a scandal related to misuse of airline passenger data gathered for mobile phone registration at the airport. Though the government withdrew the exemption on mobile phone tax on a single device coming into the country, PTA needs to patch up all the loopholes related to phone registration if it really wants to curb smuggling once and for all.
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