The Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat has directed Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to strictly check the use of cellular numbers for cybercrimes, especially financially defrauding people.

The Committee further directed the Authority to also conduct a performance evaluation of cellular companies to check the issues of weak mobile signals. The Committee met under the chairpersonship of Kishwer Zehra, MNA in Parliament House, this morning.

The Committee was apprised that PTA has been regularly monitoring fraudulent calls made from domestic and international numbers and had taken various measures with the help of cellular companies to stop such calls. The PTA Representative further informed the Committee that action had been initiated against subscribers against whom complaints have been filed. He assured the Committee that the Authority would vigilantly monitor all illegal activities and misuse of cellular numbers.

Regarding illegally issued SIMs, the PTA Representative informed that the system had been refined for issuance of SIMs through live detection of fingerprints. The Representative of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) also apprised the Committee about the issue under discussion. He informed that cybercrimes were being dealt with under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act. He informed that money fraudulently deducted from bank accounts does not fall under the purview of the PECA, and the same should be dealt with by the State Bank of Pakistan.

After a thorough discussion, the Committee decided not to recommend the Benazir Income Support Programme (Amendment) Bill, 2020, and the National Poverty Reduction Bill, 2021, moved by MNAs Mr. Naveed Aamir Jeeva and Ms. Uzma Riaz, respectively, for passage.

The Committee was of the view that the existing provisions of both the laws suffice. Thus, the amendment proposed by the Members would either be a duplication or would limit the scope of the existing laws. The Committee recommended that the Poverty Alleviation Council established under the Benazir Income Support Programme be made functional at the earliest and members from the Senate and National Assembly be included in it.

The Committee pended discussion on the Starred Question No. 52 and 75, moved by MNAs Syed Mehmood Shah and Mr. Murtaza Javed Abbasi, respectively. The Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (Amendment) Bill, 2021, and the Benazir Income Support Programme (Amendment) Bill, 2021, moved by Mr. Naveed Aamir Jeeva till its next meeting.

The meeting was attended by Mr. Ali Muhammad Khan, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, MNAs Mr. Ali Nawaz Awan, Khawaja Sheraz Mehmood, Ms. Uzma Riaz, Mr. Rasheed Ahmad Khan, Rana Iradat Sharif Khan, Ms. Shahnaz Saleem Malik, Ms. Seema Mohiuddin Jameeli, Mr. Raza Rabani Khar, Mir Ghulam Ali Talpur, Mover Mr. Naveed Aamir Jeeva, Secretary Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety Division, and other officers of concerned departments.