Auction of 3-G license: Reappointment of accused Pakistan Telecommunication Authority member Finance sparks controversy -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Auction of 3-G license: Reappointment of accused Pakistan Telecommunication Authority member Finance sparks controversy

ISLAMABAD: As the government prepares for the auction of the 3-G licence and tries hard to ensure transparency by bringing in international consultants and media agencies, the reappointment by the Cabinet Division of Nasar Kareem Ghaznavi, the suspended Member Finance Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) — who was nominated in cases of misappropriation involving billions of rupees — has bewildered even the country’s Members of Parliament.

Ghaznavi, 67, retired from the PTA seven years ago. He has availed two terms of extension in his contract of four years each. Even the standing committee of the cabinet has taken strong exception to his reappointment as a gross violation of rules and regulations. Fingers were already being pointed at the appointment of Farooq Awan, a Grade-21 DMG officer as Chairman PTA when all of a sudden the government restored Nasar Kareem Ghaznavi, the officer who had been facing an inquiry on misappropriation charges for one year and about which no decision had been taken.

When a member of the standing committee of the cabinet asked a question about his appointment, two senior officers of the federal government — Additional Secretary Cabinet Division Shahid Beg as well as the PTA chairman himself told the committee in clear terms that Mr Nasar Kareem has been under suspension on charges of corruption of billions of rupees and the previous day his appointment as Member Finance has been made once again. On this occasion Shahid Beg unfolded the real story that there were serious charges of corruption against Nasar Kareem Ghaznavi. Inviting the attention of chairman and members of the committee to the rules and regulations he said that no officer placed under suspension and facing inquiry — under whatever charges — could be appointed to any high and sensitive position till the completion of the inquiry and his clearance.

The appointment of Nasar Kareem Ghaznavi has been made with the approval of the government. However inquiry against him on misappropriation charges is still going on, he added.

Speaking to Geo News, members of the committee said that on the one hand the government declared that it was going to auction 3-G licences within the next three months while on the other the appointment of Nasar Kareem Ghaznavi — nominated in the misappropriation of billions — has been made as Member Finance. They further asked how it was possible for the PTA to conduct the auction of 3-G licences involving billions of dollars and face the international consultants who will visit Pakistan and possibly raise serious objections to the appointment of Nasar Kareem Ghaznavi.

It was learnt that Nasar Kareem Ghaznavi is facing charges of being involved in a scandal of corruption and misappropriating Rs5.5 billion. On the other hand according to official documents collected by Geo News, the PTA has clearly endorsed the charges levelled against him.

However Nasar Kareem Ghaznavi has denied the charges. The document says that after getting the licence many wireless local loop companies have yet to pay the balance of 50 percent, and this amount comes to Rs5.555 billion. Nasar Kareem Ghaznavi is being held responsible for this amount.

The News