Ever since the announcement of the Pakistan Package by the unpopular PTCL, I have been trying to get my phones removed from the package, but dialling 1236 (the PTCL helpline) is useless. The recording says that it is not possible since the system is heavily overloaded. The PTCL has not given any email address or fax number or address where one can apply for removal from the package. And since the deadline expires in a week’s time, it looks like I’ll have to pay Rs. 199 for each phone until an independent judiciary listens to such complaints and gives relief.
Why didn’t the PTCL first ask its consumers whether they wanted the package? Don’t they know that the vast majority of the people of Karachi don’t have relatives in the rest of Pakistan? Why did they discontinue the previous system when people could code their lines to prevent misuse by telephone linemen? Now any one can misuse my phones to call anyone in the country.

I know the PTCL will say that it should make no difference to me (since I won’t have to pay extra), but what if the lineman or anyone else misusing my line has contacts with terrorists? If that happens, how will I be able to convince the authorities that someone else used my telephone line?

Shakir Lakhani