IHC Government Decision to Suspend and block SIM Cards of Non-Filers

May 16, 2024Zayn0

A major step has occurred by the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) intention to block SIM cards of people who have not filed their taxes, or non-filers, has been effectively put on hold by a stay order issued by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). Here are the details of it.

Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) decision to block non-tax filers

The Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) decision to block non-tax filers’ SIM cards for mobile phones was halted by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday. Chief Justice Aamer Farooq’s single bench considered a private telecom operator’s plea, represented by Barrister Salman Akram Raja, and issued stay orders in this case.

The petitioner’s attorney contended at the hearing that the constitutional change made in this regard violated the fundamental freedom of business rights guaranteed by Article 18.

Telcos guarantee to Aurangzeb to block 500,000 SIM cards of non-fillers 

500,000 SIM cards of non-fillers would be blocked every day, Telcos guarantee Aurangzeb.

He maintained that no law could be passed that would violate the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and that changing the law would not give the government the authority to prevent people from using their SIM cards on mobile phones. Raja argued that there would be an annual loss of Rs1 billion if more than 500,000 SIMs were disabled. He further contended that a legal amendment would not grant the government the authority to disable a person’s SIM card.

On May 11 FBR Began the process of blocking sims of non-filers

On May 11, the FBR began the process of blocking 506,671 SIM cards from phone users who had not filed their taxes. The telecom providers started the process of issuing warning messages to the first group of non-fillers, which included 500,000 people in the initial stage.

The FBR handed the telecom carriers the list of these 500,000 people. These alerts were a prelude to the impending silencing of mobile SIM cards for all taxpayers who neglect to file their returns.

Conclusion

To efficiently manage the process, the FBR has developed a staged strategy in partnership with telecom carriers. It has been agreed upon by the telecom carriers to manually block SIMs in small groupings.  Following the issuance of the stay order, the IHC directed the respondents to submit a response, postponing the case hearing until May 27.

Zayn

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