Islamabad high court halts blocking of SIMs for non-filers.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) intervened on Tuesday, restraining the relevant authorities from proceeding with the blocking of SIM cards belonging to non-filers.

During the hearing, IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq presided over the petition filed by a telecommunications company, challenging the reasoning behind the Federal Board of Revenue’s decision.

Representing the company, Advocate Salman Akram Raja argued that the action to block SIM cards contradicted Article 18 of the constitution.

The court issued a temporary stay order, effective until May 27.

Consensus Reached on Blocking SIMs

Previously, following discussions between the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), an agreement was reached to block SIM cards belonging to non-filers.

Under the agreement, the PTA and telecommunications companies consented to blocking the SIM cards of 5,000 non-filers daily.

This agreement was reached amid negotiations between the FBR and PTA, with FBR officials engaging in discussions with both the PTA and telecommunications operators to enforce the Income Tax General Order.

These discussions aimed to ensure the implementation of blocking mobile SIM cards for non-filers of the tax year 2023.

According to FBR officials, telecommunications operators agreed to manually block SIM cards in small batches, with a list of 5,000 non-filers provided to them for the purpose of blocking their SIM cards.