Rumpus in PTA HQ as power struggle continues
By Jawwad Rizvi and Zubair Kasuri
Senior officials seen in CCTV footage trying to harass or kidnap two members who opposed hasty $2 billion 3G auction
LAHORE: After removal of the former PTA chairman Farooq Awan and repatriation of various officials to their parent departments, smooth functioning of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has been jeopardised due to a severe tussle among senior officials.
In the recent episode, some uniformed people forcefully entered the premises of the PTA Headquarters in Islamabad on Monday afternoon and attempted to harass or kidnap Member Technical Dr Khawar Siddique Khokhar and Member Finance Nasrul Karim Ghaznavi.
The bold stance taken by both the PTA members against the government on appointment of consultants to supervise the auction of $2 billion 3G spectrum was reported by The News on December 11 last year.
However, on the commendation of a senior official from the power corridors, they returned empty-handed. Insiders believe that it all happened to save the skin of PTA Rawalpindi Zonal acting Director, Mr Junaid, who is the dearest son of lady senator belonging to BNP-Awami, Ms Kalsoom Parveen, and appointed in the authority on deputation.
The intense rift among senior PTA officers has created anxiety and a sense of insecurity among the juniors who are now looking for other options to protect themselves from the controversy.
In the incident of raiding the PTA Headquarter on Monday afternoon, two PTA members alleged the involvement of another senior official, former DG Enforcement, who was made Officer on Special Duty (OSD) last Friday by the members using their administrative powers.
However, Sajjad Awan, former DG Enforcement, said that he was not involved in the whole episode. “When I reached the office there were some officials standing outside the building who asked me about the offices of the two members of the PTA (Finance, and Technical). I guided them to their offices where the member finance welcomed the officials and exchanged greetings.
“Later, I left them in member finance’s office and while returning, I saw that member technical was moving towards the elevators to see off one of his guests. I told him too that some guests were in member finance’s office who also wanted to see you as well,” he said.
Meanwhile, the suspicious people started bringing the member finance out of his office forcibly. “Later, I left the scene and went back to my office,” he said adding that CCTV footage was available which can prove that he did not bring any of these suspicious officials to the PTA.
On the other hand, Additional Director Security Zahid Mumtaz said security officials allowed the entry of these suspicious people as Sajjad Awan accompanied by them. However, he was unable to answer why these suspicious people were not stopped on their returns from the building after harassing the two members of the PTA.
He claimed that the incident was reported to the security officials when these suspicious officials left the PTA premises. However, sources in the PTA said that these suspicious people could be held at the gate by the security officials without orders of anyone as all CCTV cameras were on in the monitoring room of the CCTV cameras.
They said that the incident of harassing the two members on the fifth floor corridor could be watched and this was a security lapse.Member Finance Nasrullah Ghaznavi said that these suspicious people asked him to go with them to the conference room of a ministry where they would ask some questions. “I asked them to ask any question here in my office or produce orders of any high-ups concerned to go to conference room of the ministry,” he added.
Secretariat Police Station House Officer (SHO) Qasie Gillani said no compliant was received by him regarding the PTA Headquarter issue. He said one of the members also called him and informed that the complaint was lodged with the high-ups. However, he said when complaint would be marked to him then he would be able to initiate any course of action and so far he was unaware about anything in this regard.
Sources said because of the rift between members of PTA and Cabinet Division regarding exercising of administrative powers of Chairman PTA, status of several officers’ posting and current designation was not clear.
Newly appointed Director (HR) is transferring officers with approval of two members and Director General (Enforcement), who claims himself as head of HR, is stopping them from joining new posts, they added.
Director (Consumer Protection) Khurram Ali Mehran was transferred to post of Director (Public Relations) a few days back. His Director General was not accepting his charge relinquishing report while he had joined post of Director (PR) as well. His DG has been obeying DG (Enforcement) orders and he is thinking that he is supposed to obey orders of the current management at PTA.
Deputy Director (Enforcement) Muzaffarabad Mr Mudasir was given charge of Director (Enforcement) Muzaffarabad to run the office. When he sent charge assumption report to his Director General, who is Mr. Sajjad Awan, DG (Enforcement), his report was not accepted and he was asked why he was obeying illegal orders.
Deputy Director (Enforcement) Quetta Ali Faisal was appointed as Acting Director (Enforcement) Quetta to run day to day affairs as all the drawing powers rest with Director. He has not joined as director as his DG Mr. Sajjad would not accept his joining.
Deputy Director (Enforcement) Karachi who was lately Deputy Director (HR) was posted back to Islamabad. He has not joined as his boss, DG (Enforcement) is not willing to accept the charge assumption report.
DG (Enforcement) claiming to be the head of HR has issued explanation to DD (Training) Ms. Rabya and AD (HR) Syed Imtiaz Naqvi for accepting orders of new Director (HR). AD (HR) is now on leave because of this situation.
The sources said that if DG (Enforcement) is required to be a professional engineer having Pakistan Engineering Council-recognised degree and can be removed from his post, why Director (Enforcement), Rawalpindi, Mr Junaid has not been removed from his job. Director (Enforcement) is always a technical director as per service regulations and needs to be a professional engineer. It means that members of the Authority are not taking action as per law against son of a senator, they added.
In such a scenario, the two members have taken Human Resources department responsibilities back from DG Enforcement Sajjad Awan making him OSD and new Director HR Abdus Samad was appointed by the members who started working on their orders.
Sajjad Awan has issued explanation to officers of HR directorate stating that appointment of new Director HR is illegal and why they were obeying his orders. All employees at PTA are in a state of fix for performing official duties because of this war between cabinet and members of Authority.
Sajjad Awan on making him OSD issue said that he had already filed a writ petition. He said the members misuse their powers to complete their action before retirement. One member of the PTA is going to retire in February 2013 and the other in mid of March 2013.
A secretary of a ministry was spotted in the CCTV footage recorded on the premises of PTA Headquarters where he is seen as supervising the operation to abduct two members of the PTA on Monday.
On February 4, around a dozen armed persons, some in police uniform and others in plain clothes, riding in four cars with green number plates, made their entrance to PTA Headquarters Building located in the sensitive Red Zone and entered in rooms of Member Finance Syed Nasrul Karim Ghaznavi and Member Technical Dr Khawar Siddique Khokhar.
They allegedly forcefully tried to abduct them without any search or arrest warrants. The team however left PTA empty handed as both members of PTA refused to go with them and put up resistance.
The CCTV footage, a copy of which is available with The News, shows three cars entering the main gate of PTA Headquarters and one pickup staying outside. From one black car with green number plate and two wireless antennas installed on its trunk, disembarked a person dressed in suit, with long grey hair. He walked down to porch shaking hands with PTA Director General Sajjad Awan, the main character of the episode, and then came back to take his position on back seat of his car.
This person who is secretary of a ministry was apparently supervising the whole operation.
Telecom industry and human rights activists have reacted with anger on the incident. “This is totally turning the country into a police state,” stated Wahajus Siraj, Convener Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan (ISPAK).
Amina Janjua, Defense of Human Rights (DHR) Chairperson, said “Government is always quick in snatching the civil liberties of citizens and illegal attempt of abduction of two officers of PTA is highly condemnable.” No FIR was registered by the Police till filing of this report.