Ban defaulters from 3G auction, demands Senate panel -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Ban defaulters from 3G auction, demands Senate panel

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel on Thursday recommended to the government to bar defaulter telecom operators as well as subsidiaries of the government from participating in the auction of 3G/4G technology.

It also asked the government to hold the auction of 3G and 4G separately instead of one go as planned by the government to accomplish this task on April 23, 2014.But the government has already made it clear that it was not bound to oblige the parliamentary panel as the stage is set to hold the spectrum auction as per the fixed schedule.

A sub-committee of Senate’s standing committee on information technology met with Senator Zahid Khan in the chair here at the Parliament House on Thursday in which it recommended to the government to halt this process till completion of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), which is not yet completed.

Senator Zahid Khan said that PTA was incomplete as currently one member of the Authority is working with an additional charge. Quoting the Lahore High Court order, Senator Syed Faisal Raza Abidi said that a bureaucrat could not be inducted in an independent body like PTA, so how additional charge could be given to a bureaucrat.

The sub-committee questioned that if PTA’s authority is incomplete, how the auction could be held.The committee in its ruling stated any action carried out without filling the post of the member (compliance and enforcement) in the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority would be illegal including the auction of 3G and 4G licences.

Secretary law, justice and human rights Zafarullah Khan informed the committee that the Supreme Court had assigned the additional charge to the then secretary law, justice & human rights Mohammad Raza Khan who was replaced by him.

The Establishment Division informed the panel that one consulting firm has been assigned to shortlist the applications for interview.The division has been requested to proceed further in the matter as it is non-functional due to non-availability of one member since March 7, 2014.

Accordingly Cabinet division is proceeding ahead with the selection process in accordance with Schedule II of the PTA’s chairman and members (appointment & qualification) rules 2013. He further said that he would not sign any illegal act of the government and has no intentions to fully join the Authority as he is purely with an additional charge.

The chairman of the committee said that there was no motive to halt the auction process but they were sitting here to ensure the fulfilment of the requirements of the law.Senator Faisal Raza Abidi also suggested the holding of separate auctions for the 3G/4G licences claiming it would help generate additional revenue of $1.5 billion.Chairman PTA Syed Ismail Shah told the committee that currently no telecom operators participating in the auction process is defaulter on account of Universal Service Fund (USF).

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