–517 dishes confiscated, 13 persons held in different cities
–Online stores continue selling illegal equipment as authorities target physical markets
LAHORE: On the orders of the Supreme Court, a massive crackdown has been launched by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Pakistan Customs and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) against the sellers of illegal satellite dishes, DTH [direct to home] receivers and digital receivers.
Speaking at a media briefing here, FIA Punjab Director Dr Waqar Abbasi on Saturday said that the cost of equipment confiscated in raids, jointly conducted by FIA, Pakistan Customs and PEMRA authorities so far, amounted to billions of rupees.
“The raids were conducted at twelve different locations in Lahore, Chiniot and Faisalabad where the sellers of illegal DTH, digital receivers, satellite dish receivers and other equipment of the sort were openly doing business.”
He further informed media persons that stores in Lahore including, Shaheen Electronics Hall Road, Fast Electronics, Turks Satellite, Orient Electronics, Imran Dish Centre and others were raided whereas almost 300 DTH/satellite dish receivers and 25 satellite dishes were confiscated. Further, during the raids, five individuals were arrested for selling the illegal equipment.
“Similarly, seven raids were conducted in Faisalabad and Chiniot, whereas FIA seized 217 digital receivers of different brands and support equipment besides arresting eight people,” he said.
The media was briefed that cases under AMLA/ FERA/PECA/ PEMRA and Customs Acts were being registered against the arrestees.
Dr Abbasi further said that money laundering was being carried out under the umbrella of the said business. “Due to these satellites, a loss of nearly Rs2.4 billion is being faced by the economy and the same is being earned by India,” he said and added that through these pieces of equipment, different banned programmes and channels were also being illegally broadcasted.
Meanwhile, sources told Pakistan Today that such business goings on were in full swing all over Punjab.
“This illegal equipment is also being sold online, which is a way larger market and the equipment is delivered to the buyer directly,” they said and added that raiding stores would not make any difference until an action was also taken against the online businesses.
Sources further said that the online sellers were also smuggling the equipment directly from India whereas there was no check on their activities. “Unique receivers are being sold online, which also worked without a satellite dish and one can access all channels through these receivers by using internet service.”
FIA Lahore spokesperson Altaf Watoo informed this scribe that all illegal dealers would be taken to task and a massive crackdown against them would be carried out.
“Our teams are out in the field raiding all such places and the crackdown would not stop until all such businesses were shut down,” he said.