Karachi’s business community says unregistered SIMs ‘mother of all criminal activities’

Karachi’s business community blames mobile phone service providers more than the government for the ever-increasing extortion and ‘kidnapping for ransom’ cases in the Pakistani city.

Businessmen say that unregistered SIMs are the mother of all crimes since all criminal acts, especially extortion and kidnapping for ransom, are carried out by people using unregistered SIMs, The Express Tribune reports.

Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) chief Ahmed Chinoy agrees with the Karachi businessmen that unregistered SIMs are the basic irritant for law enforcing agencies to control major crimes, adding that this problem can only be resolved if mobile phone service providers deliver SIMs to the postal address of the customers, instead of handing them over at shops and outlets.

Top representatives of the city’s business community are furious with Interior Minister Rehman Malik for not equipping police with modern technology to detect unregistered SIMs, which are usually used for getaways and negotiations in extortion and kidnapping for ransom cases.

A few months ago, as a last resort, they also threatened a series of strikes following the ever-increasing number of extortion cases in the commercial hub of the country.

"Rehman Malik told us in a meeting a few months back that he will block all unregistered SIMs in a few days, but nothing has happened yet," said Idress Gigi, former chairman of the Federal B Area of Trade and Industry.

"To confirm his commitment, I even bought an unregistered mobile phone set and an unregistered SIM. I continue to check them after every 15 days, but to my surprise, both are still functional," he added.

Unregistered mobile phones range from stolen phones that have been blocked to Chinese phones that have one identification number across the entire mobile model, making it impossible to trace.

Kidnapping for ransom and extortion incidents have plagued Karachi in recent months, but all efforts to control these crimes have failed to show tangible results so far. (ANI)

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