Cellphones, blocked, Pakistan, PTA

30 million cellphones blocked in Pakistan for their use in grey trafficking: PTA

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority blocked more than 30 million devices used in grey trafficking last year, according a report by the authority.

Grey trafficking is the use of illegal exchanges to make international calls instead of through legal routes. “Grey trafficking is basically smuggling of voice and it’s the equivalent of stealing,” said Pervez Iftikhar, a telecommunications expert.

“It is illegal and causes huge losses to the government because it encourages tax evasion,” he said.

According to the report, in the past year, the PTA blocked more than 10 million mobile phones that were stolen, unregistered or smuggled. These phones were being used under the stolen identities of more than 50,000 people.

“Among the people involved in the crime were 15 officers of the Federal Investigation Authority,” the report stated.

Earlier, mobile phone traders imported phones through a free trade system. “When the FIA introduced a tax net, they had given us time to sell the stock we had imported previously,” a mobile phone importer Umar Malik said.

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