THERE IS hardly any iota of doubt that the information and communication technologies have boomed the whole spectrum of life across the world; the trends of business have entirely changed positively significantly reducing time as well as cost. But this is not so all the time. Since the recent past, the political parties in Pakistan have started using ICTs for the spread of their manifestoes and electioneering or other campaigns through text messages on cell phones. This exercise undoubtedly is a short and time saving, but at the cost of mobile phone users whose privacy has unreasonable breached with this illegitimate exertice. As one step forward, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf has tactfully manipulated this facility for expanding its membership base across the country by adding without permission so many cell phone numbers of users and started sending text messages calling them as its party members. This is nothing but disturbing an individuals private life rather a torture to address him/her its party member. Who has authorized the same party to enroll cell phone users as its members? Is there any official authority to monitor such transgressions into the individuals life? Or is there any law to punish these violators? Of course, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, which claims to be the watchdog of the telecom sector, has been tasked to ensure implementation of all rules and regulations in this sector. However, regrettably it has hardly ended its hibernation when ever such situation arose. The cell phone companies do offer very attractive tariff packages in order to allure their customers and increase revenues and, of course, their customers purchase these packages. But here comes the responsibility of PTA which needs to come to the rescue of cell phone users who all the time remain busy deleting the spam text messages or suffer due to this illegitimate exercise of political parties. Though the spam emails or text messages in email accounts or on cell phones do continue, yet the sending company or department also offers an option to block such emails or messages, however, in case of political parties electioneering especially the PTIs reported enrollment drive, the mobile phone users appear helpless. This sorry state of affairs gives the impression that the PTA has made no law or set up no crime control cell in this regard. The cell phone companies claim to have their user base stretching beyond the figure of 117 million in Pakistan – almost one person one connection – in addition to millions of email account users. The PTA needs to rise to the situation as regulating the telecom sector especially consumer rights protection is the foremost assignment of the watchdog, otherwise it has no justification to stay.
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