The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has blocked more than 30 million devices used in grey trafficking last year, said a report by the authority.
“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.
The PTA has blocked more than 10 million cell phones that were stolen, unregistered or smuggled in the past year, according to the report. Those phones were used in more than 50,000 people’s stolen identities.
“Among the people involved in the crime were 15 officers of the Federal Investigation Authority,” the report stated.
Mobile phone traders imported phones using 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.
“But we were unable to sell that stock. Now, even after paying taxes, we are scared that we will come under the FIA’s radar,” he said.
Malik said that in situations like these, the importers suffering the most.
Last year, the PTA introduced a new Device Identification Registration and Blocking System, that proved to be efficient in controlling grey trafficking.
Officers say that it has initiated the legal import of phones.
“Due to the system, a 67% increase was recorded in mobile phones imported legally this year,” the report added.