Other side of SIMs retail sale ban
DEVISING SHALLOW and immature policies has always been the privilege of the state authorities in one way or the other, apparently to benefit some quarters or individuals, or due to lack of the required level of vision. But the common man of this country has to bear the brunt of all this misgovernance. This time the axe falls on the poor retailers of telecom industry whom the authorities have left in the lurch by slapping ban on SIMs sale at retail points thus allowing the mobile phone companies to restrict their SIMs sale at their franchised points or at their offices only. Though the government takes shelter behind the argument that this decision has been taken only to discourage mobile phone usages by militant groups in the rising terror activities in the country, yet this whole process has darkened the future of the total 400,000 retailers operative across the country. These retailers are playing a pivotal role in stretching the telecom services and products of mobile companies to far-flung areas of the country. No need to mention that these were the retailers who have acted like backbone for the telecom industry and increased mobile subscribers numbers from just five million in 2004 to 120 million in 2012. The governments decision of banning SIMs sale at retail points is silent about the future role of these retailers in extending the telecom services in the country. Furthermore, the status of the SIMs huge stocks available with the retailers is now not clear. The situation has appeared grim as the retailers are now sitting with their fingers crossed and they have no option but to wait for the authorities to have a favourable look at them for the revival of the old system of SIMs. Subsequently, all retailers are waiting for any direction for the SIMs they had obtained prior to new directives. Even the telecom companies, who have started in-house sales after the SIMs retail sale ban, look unhappy with the current system as it has negatively dampened their sale graph. But on the other side, these, what the government claims, the corrective measures have apparently failed to control the terror activities in the wake of fresh explosions especially in Peshawar, tribal areas and Quetta. This time, too, the governments claims of controlling the terror activities have fallen flat earning shame for the government. The question as to how an unregistered SIM is sold to a person having no CNIC is still unanswered pointing towards the flaws in the system. SIMs sale at retail points is squarely an unwise decision and the government needs to come up with some other doable options instead of strangulating the poor retailers.