SHC restrains police from harassing franchise owners

KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday restrained Sindh police from harassing the owners of cellular mobile companies’ franchises in the city.

This direction came on a petition filed by as many as 19 franchise owners of cellular mobile companies, who have taken interior secretary, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), home secretary, city police chief and SSP CID to the court for conducting raids at Franchises and harassing their owners.

A division bench headed by Justice Ghulam Sarwar Korai also issued notice to official respondents, directing them to submit their respective replies on the petition.

The petitioners Shafqat Hussain Niazi and other 18 owners submitted that special procedure had been prepared by PTA for selling SIMs and same procedure was being adopted by franchise owners, while no SIM was being sold to any costumer without complying with the standard operative procedure.

They said that Supreme Court during hearing of Karachi unrest case was informed that due to large number of unauthorized SIMs, it has become difficult for the law enforcement agencies to control the crime. Hence, the Supreme Court directed PTA to file the recommendations to check the illegal use of SIMs by criminals and presented its recommendation on approaches that can be taken to rein in the use of illegal SIMs. .

They said that franchises of the mobile phone service companies adopted the procedure recommended by PTA and in addition to that special biometric system was also introduced.

Despite that, police conducted raids at the franchises and arrested their owners and other staff. They said that their staff was kept in illegal detention, where they were subjected to torture and released after taking bribe.

The petitioners said that illegal action of police forced them to close their franchise offices in the city. They prayed to the court to restrain respondent officials from harassing them and taking any adverse action against them.