The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday declared that fake SIMs were the root cause of cybercrime and that an operation against them continued across the country.
Addressing a news conference at FIA Cybercrime office in Karachi, country’s top probe body’s additional director Imran Riaz maintained that operation against fake SIMs continued for the last one week.
“Seven franchises of different [mobile] companies were sealed and nine people have been arrested after citizens lodged complaints with the PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority),” he said.
Riaz said SIMs were also issued after obtaining thumb impressions in Punjab besides interior Sindh adding that 15,000 to 20,000 SIMs were recovered which were being sold in the name of different companies.
“WhatsApp numbers are being sold. SIMs sold illegally are used in criminal activities, which are activated through silicon. SIMs opened in other people’s name are also used in crimes such as extortion and abduction.”
The FIA director observed that the purpose of carrying out operations was not to affect anyone’s business but added that no such activity would be allowed that harmed the country.
He vowed to take those involved in the business of fake SIMs to task saying that owner of mobile companies’ franchises were involved in this criminal activity.
Elaborating the future plans, Riaz said FIA’s next operation would be against those ¬internet service providers who violated the standard operating procedures.
He said the franchise operators involved in the sales of illegal SIMs had been working privately in Karachi.
“Franchise operators can go to any extent to meet their targets. Earlier, this business was conducted at franchises but now they (franchise operators) have acquired private places,” he said.
“The reason for low FIR rate at FIA is that people want to avoid courts,” he added.