Democracy’s Revenge from IT and Telecom Sector

This article has input from Salman Ansari

Dictatorship is attributed as a flawed system, and rightly so, as authority for making a range of decisions can’t work best when given to one single person.

With the emergence of democracy in Pakistan in 2008, like every other department, Telecom and IT sector had high hopes. Though the sector had flourished during the previous 4/5 years, yet it was aiming for further heights in uplifting country’s economy and to enhance the living standards of a common person.

The journey started with a complete blackout or what we call total negligence towards IT and Telecom. Probably due to bizarre reasons or perhaps government was unwise and daring enough to deliberately ignore the sector that had fetched highest foreign direct investment in the country.

Not very surprisingly, keeping in mind the deeds and directions that government that it had adopted 2 years ago, very vibrant IT and Telecom sector has reached to a (coming soon) state of possible uncertainty.

Internationally acclaimed growth of 40-60% in the mobile sector has incredibly gone to -2% all within this ‘initial’ revenge period of two years. Information Technology became irrelevant and feasible for a few heads only. Of course the illegal money area (e.g. illegal voice termination) made a lot of people very, very very rich.

Then out of nowhere, appointment of Mr. Khosa’s appointment as the virtual Minister of IT amazed the telecom minds and investors. While rewarding a loyalist, government probably forgot that the person has zero knowledge of IT and Telecom, and above this, he is not even a politician representing the people of this country (neither an MNA nor a Senator).

IT and Telecom, that was at notable distance from known and conventional government customs, is now pulled into a circus where brilliance is compared with favoritism.

With-in three months, Mr. Khosa has achieved the established milestone of Pakistani politicians, that is, allegations and questions over his inability for the job he is doing.

He has reportedly sacked Secretary and MD ICT R&D fund, Secretary and MD USF, Member Telecom, Head of EGD, Secretary to the Board of Directors and various other key position holders.

Shout out of sources in the industry reveal that Mr. Khosa wants his friends and family on these very crucial positions.

Allegedly, minister is inserting pressure on HRGC of ICT and R&D fund to employ his brother in law as CEO of the fund, who holds a fake degree from some Canadian university that does not exist at all, according to HEC.

On same grounds, minister is in clash to slash down CEO of USF, which has proved to be the best operating USF in the world and is being used as a benchmark by other countries (incidentally it is the best operating part of the Ministry).

There is no doubt that Minister is following the rules and making all these changes in accordance to the law, but one may argue, why would he not renew the contracts of those who have done brilliant jobs in their respective departments?

Beyond this, why is he pressurizing the board members of these organizations to insert his friend and family members?
Apparently there is one reason: These institutions are enormously funded, for instance, inflows for USF only are over Rs. 25 billion a year.

Expected turmoil can only be avoided if the government comes back into sense and decide the fate of this country on merit – not on personal preferences.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK