Pak seizes Indian and other DTH worth Rs 7.83 cr in nation-wide crackdown

The DTH Satellite TV is the latest technology to deliver digital TV satellite service to households.

Sajjad Hussain
Islamabad, Publish Date: Nov 9 2018 1:17AM | Updated Date: Nov 9 2018 1:17AM
Pak seizes Indian and other DTH worth Rs 7.83 cr in nation-wide crackdownRepresentational Pic

Pakistan authorities have seized smuggled Indian and other Direct-To-Home (DTH) equipment worth Rs 7.83 crore from various markets in a nation-wide crack down against the illegal devices, revealed a report.

The report was submitted to the Supreme Court on Wednesday after it took up a suo motu case relating to easy availability of Indian DTH or magic box in the Pakistani market.

The DTH Satellite TV is the latest technology to deliver digital TV satellite service to households.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan was also told that 30 FIRs had been lodged during the crackdown and 39 people arrested by the Customs Department and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the Dawn reported.

The report, which was furnished before the apex court through Additional Attorney General Nayyar Abbas Rizvi, said that the nationwide enforcement operations has ended the commercial sale and availability of smuggled DTH equipment in the local markets.

During the last hearing, the apex court had constituted a committee consisting of member (customs), the FIA's additional director general and a member of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to find out the source of smuggled goods and to take steps to curb the smuggling.

The report recalled that the Federal Board of Revenue has also enhanced enforcement measures adopted by the customs field formations which resulted in seizures of goods and other contraband items, including DTH equipment worth Rs24.8 billion during 2017-18.

However, the report conceded that mere enforcement measures would not be sufficient to completely root out the transportation or availability of DTH equipment used for illegal broadcasting of Indian content in the country. Therefore, a holistic strategy needs to be worked out by all agencies/regulators to address this issue.

The committee constituted by the apex court proposed measures like the PEMRA's suggestion to grant concessions from duty or taxes for the import of equipment and other accessories to successful bidders in the awarding of DTH licences – a process which is in progress and likely to be completed soon.

In the absence of local DTH, the subscribers were opting for other illegal means, which include Indian DTH services, the report said.

The PEMRA has also suggested a technological solution which can effectively disrupt the reception and rebroadcast of Indian content using smuggled DTH equipment or those imported through regular channels after modifications by the local vendors, the report said.

However, the report called for support  from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority for blocking the internet protocols addresses of the websites which were either running the illegal C-Line/CC-CAM or advertising the illegal Indian DTH in Pakistan.  

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