A spokesperson of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has said that PTA has neither formed any regulations nor it intends to monitor any personal communication including mobile phones, emails and SMS.
The spokesman clarified that it was never a mandate of PTA to monitor landline telephones, mobile phones, emails and SMS hence question of freedom of expression does not arise in this particular case. In fact, PTA in its efforts to curb illegal telecom traffic (grey traffic) coming into Pakistan from outside the country through illegal means, has installed a latest technical system. Through this system, all telecom traffic coming in Pakistan from abroad is counted to ensure usage of authorized means to carry out this business, to control illegal telecom traffic, billing verification and quality of service as required under the law.
PTA during past few months has seized number of such illegal exchanges and apprehended persons including foreigners involved in this illegal business. These illegal systems were causing billions of rupees loss to the Government of Pakistan thus by raiding such places PTA performed its legal and national duty which might have harmed interest of few individuals fuelling concocted stories in the media. During last one year PTA saved 1.17 billion minutes (calls) through the technical system amounting to US $ 94 million.
To make this system more effective PTA has recently formulated draft of Monitoring and Reconciliation of Telephony Traffic Regulations 2009. These regulations were originally formed and notified in November 2008 and now few amendments have been proposed to enhance the scope of these regulations under the law. The proposed regulations are aimed at checking international calls to curb the illegal telecom traffic coming in Pakistan. PTA has put the draft of proposed regulations on its website to seek comments of all concerned to make these regulations comprehensive and acceptable to all.