Khosa’s Clash with IT Executive Surfaces on Mainstream

We had hinted Sardar Latif Khosa’s conflict with multiple IT and Telecom executives in an earlier post. Today the issue was escalated by Ansar Abbasi of The News in a news report.

Adviser to the PM on Information Technology Sardar Latif Khosa faces a mutiny-like situation in his ministry and from the Board of Directors of the two extremely wealthy telecom-specific private sector companies, which the minister heads, but wants to run them in his own style.

There are apprehensions about the fate of a huge fund of more than Rs 20 billion available with these companies. However, what is really a serious matter for Khosa is the opposition that he is facing from his own secretary as well as member telecom of the IT Ministry over the question of key appointments in these companies, which were created for research and development and for spreading modern telecom services in under-served areas of Pakistan.

Already Khosa had a confrontation with his secretary in a recent Senate Committee meeting where yet another PPP Senator Syed Faisal Raza Abidi joined Khosa and shouted at the top officials of the ministry and these companies.

The adviser is alleged to have violated the SECP rules as he ignored the Board of Directors of these companies to impose his own will to get his choice men appointed as Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of these companies – the Universal Service Fund (USF) and National Information Communication Technologies Research and Development Fund ICTRDF.

Neither have these companies nor has their fund anything to do with the government as they are registered under companies act with the SECP and generate fund from the telecom operators to support their corporate objectives.

The minister in-charge of the IT is the ex-officio chairman of these companies. Some directors are now seriously contemplating to remove Khosa as the chairman of their companies.

Khosa, when contacted, insisted that he was strictly going by the book and wanted that the appointments of the CEOs of these companies should be made on merit and through a transparent procedure.

He rejected the allegations that he wanted his choice men, including his brother-in-law, to be appointed as CEOs of these companies but said that he was really serious to scrutinize the projects of these companies.

Over the controversies surrounding the key appointments, Khosa has already suspended the company secretary following the intervention of the Senate Committee on IT where Senator Faisal Raza Abidi, interestingly, not only objected to the presence of USF CEO but also sought suspension of the company secretary.

The sources said that Khosa and Abidi, who both belong to the presidential camp, used extremely insulting language against the secretary IT, CEO USF and company secretary in the committee meeting. At one stage, these sources said that one of the senators was heard threatening that he would personally go to the IT Ministry to beat the people there with shoes.

Khosa, the sources said, confronted Federal Secretary IT Najibullah Malik, who insisted that despite being the chairman of the USF Khosa has just one vote and he cannot override the powers and authority of the Board of Directors.

In the rush of blood, Khosa during the Senate committee meeting announced the suspension of USF company’s secretary although the SECP rules say that the chairman of a company could sack the company secretary but only with the approval of the Board of Directors.

The secretary IT Ministry, member telecommunication IT Ministry and all other members of the USF BoD believe that the chairman USF could neither suspend the company’s secretary on his own nor he could initiate appointment procedure for the appointment of a new CEO USF.

Documents available with The News reveal that in one of its recent meetings, the board of USF, with the exception of Khosa, supported the proposal to give extension in the tenure of the incumbent CEO USF. Khosa instead objected that since the item seeking extension of the CEO USF was not part of the agenda, it should be brought before the board as part of the regular agenda for BoD’s consideration.

The BoD agreed to the chairman’s view but decided that the CEO USF would continue till the filling of the post by the board. But later, Khosa asked the company’s secretary to advertise the post. The USF secretary told Khosa that it couldn’t be done without the approval of the board. The company secretary was asked to get the approval of the board members through circulation but it could not happen and most of the members did not reply whereas a few of the members, instead of giving approval to this, asked to take up the matter before the next board meeting.

In the case of the other company, ICTRDF, the sources said that Khosa wanted to appoint his brother-in-law as CEO ICTRDF but it could not happen because the selection committee did not shortlist the favourite’s name after his PhD degree was found to be fake by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.

The aspirant is serving in the CDA. Khosa, when contacted, denied that he intended to appoint his brother-in-law as CEO ICTRDF and said that if he wanted to do it, his relative’s name would have been short-listed. Najibullah Malik and Member Telecom, Ministry of IT, Mushtaq Ahmad Bhatti, when contacted by The News said the company act clearly envisaged the BoD was the competent authority and that the chairman of the company had no over-riding powers but had just one vote like any other member of the board.

We have the details of senate’s standing committee on IT, held on May 25, 2010. Very same meeting that was mentioned by Ansar Abbasi in above report. Following is what we call detailed report of meeting:

The account is not in exact sequence and is also not full and complete. However it attempts to capture most of what occurred during discussions on Agenda Item regarding USF.

After the first three items of the agenda were discussed the item “Briefing by USF Company on its program for promoting Telecommunication, Broadband, Fiber Optics and other services in under-served and un-served areas of the country”, came up for discussion. The presentation was put up on the screen. Following occurred next;

• Senator Muhammad Zahid Khan asked who was the CEO of USF and Mr. Parvez Iftikhar introduced himself as CEO USF and tried to start his presentation.

• Senator Syed Faisal Raza Abidi asked the CEO why he was presenting when his contract had expired? And how come he was still serving as CEO USF? CEO politely replied that firstly under Companies Ordinance 1984 till the appointment of new CEO, he has to continue. Secondly, he explained, during the last Board Meeting on 31st March 2010 it was decided by the Board that he should continue till the Board finally decides.

• At this the Advisor to PM on IT Mr. Sardar Muhammad Latif Khan Khosa spoke up that the matter was put before the Board but he declined to discuss it. He said that he instructed the Secretary IT to advertise the post but it was returned with the remarks that the post cannot be advertised without permission of the Board. He said that he then asked the company secretary but the company secretary sent it to the Board members for their views. The Advisor stated that this was a clear violation of his instructions and the CEO is continuing and enjoying all the perks despite that.

• Senator Abidi then shouted in an insulting tone that the contract of “this person” (CEO USF) had expired and he was getting 18 lacs as salary (in reality it is much less) and has signed over Rs. 20 Billion worth of projects (the correct figure is Rs. 15 Billion). He then said that after clear instructions of the Minister In-charge to advertise the post how come he is still working as CEO of USF and how can the company secretary refuse the instruction of the Minister Incharge?

• Mr. Hassan Shiko Company Secretary USF requested to be given a chance to explain the matter. He started saying that USF is formed under Companies Ordinance 1984, Section 42 and registered with SECP with an independent Board of Directors which is equally represented by the government and private sector. Under companies ordinance section 199(3) the existing CEO whose tenure is completed has to continue to perform his duties till either he is reappointed or a new CEO comes in. He was explaining that regarding the advertisement also he needed a Board decision which he was trying to seek.

• But Advisor on IT interrupted Mr. Shiko and said that he does not agree to the existing Board as some Board members are enjoying huge contracts from USF and his instructions were violated by not only the Company Secretary but also by the Secretary IT.

• At this stage Senator Abidi hit the desk hard with his hand and shouted that a strict action should be taken and the Chairman USF Board should suspend the company secretary with immediate effect. On this the Advisor IT also angrily said that he suspends the company secretary there and then.

• Secretary IT tried to calm the Advisor down by calling him his elder brother and assuring him that he had great regard for him. He started to clarify that this matter has been lingering on for a few weeks now where the Advisor’s instructions do not appear to be fully in line with the rules and therefore he has also apprised the PM on this. While he was still trying to put across his point-of-view in a very calm and controlled manner, the Advisor started debate regarding the rules under which the matter is referred to the PM.

• The Advisor accused in a raised voice that people in the Ministry have made a gang under Secretary IT. He said that in this Ministry he (the Advisor) feels just like a clerk as his instructions were not being followed.

• Senator Abidi very angrily added as to how could this be happening when the Minister is himself the Federal Government, while the secretary is a secretary to the Government. He again pointed at CEO USF and asked how this person (CEO USF) is still sitting as CEO, why was the CEO position not advertised?

• Senator Moula Baksh Chandio and Senator Zahid Khan at this stage requested the committee members to also listen to what CEO USF and the Secretary were trying to say and that they should also be given a chance to speak.

• CEO USF pleaded that he may be given a chance to make the presentation as per the meeting agenda to inform the senators as to what USF was doing. Senator Chandio agreed with him and asked the CEO to proceed but as soon as CEO USF started he was once again stopped by Senator Abidi that no this person is not allowed to give a presentation as his contract had expired on 30th April 2010. The senator said that the CEO had no “notification” that he could continue. The Agenda item itself was therefore not even touched during the meeting.

• Secretary IT tried to explain that under company rules, there is an HR Committee of USF Board, which has to take a decision and then the Board meeting decides as per recommendations of HRGC. During the last Board meeting held on 31st March 2010, the case of CEO USF was brought up for discussion and it was recommended by all the Board members to the chairman that the existing CEO is the most suitable person to continue and his contract should be renewed.

• The Minister Incharge cut the Secretary IT’s explanation and angrily denied and said that he declined to discuss this in the Board meeting as this was not an agenda item. The company secretary tried to explain that although the minister declined but the chairman and members allowed the CEO to continue, but he was again shouted down by Senator Abidi who addressed the Chairman and angrily shouted that they, as members of this committee, should decide that the Company Secretary of USF should be suspended and an advertisement for the position of CEO USF should be given, otherwise he would resign from the standing committee.

• Chairman of the committee Senator Safi suggested that an Enquiry Committee should be created to find out the exact situation. The members agreed to this and a sub committee comprising of three members, Senator Saleem Saifullah Khan, Senator Muhammad Zahid Khan and Senator Maula Baksh Chandio, was suggested and seconded by rest of the members. But at this stage Senator Abidi intervened and recommended himself to be included in the enquiry committee saying that he would personally investigate the matter.

All this time the tone and manner of Senator Abidi and Advisor IT was very loud and very insulting especially towards Secretary IT, CEO USF and Company Secretary of USF. In between there were several derogatory remarks made against the burocracy in general.

At one stage Senator Abidi said that he would personally go to the Ministry and beat the people with shoes.

The three persons who were being targeted were not allowed to speak. Whenever upon asking by other senators that the three should also be heard, they started to say something they were angrily shouted down by Senator Abidi and Advisor IT. They were also not interested in the working of USF which was the actual agenda item.

At several stages senators like chairman senator Safi, senator Saifullah Khan, senator Zahid Khan and others tried to put some sanity into the proceedings but Senator Abidi and Advisor IT did not let that happen.

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


  • Annoyed

    Hell with these ministers… they dn’t knw how the companies r run..they just want to give these lucrative posts to their favourite cronies and the make money through contrcats…they are not interested in well being of common man, they just want to packet as much as possible for themselves…

  • Sad

    Its really sad and bad
    Things must be settled in a cool way
    Professional and highly ranked/positioned people must act accordingly

  • Damn ministers! It is supposed to happen when party members are only rewarded ministries for their *hard work* and people looking after shoe business are made minister of defence!

  • yasir riaz

    What is the need of letting the uneducated , ignorant and inssane person like Abidi and Latif Khan khosa to intervene in ????

    it is the matter of grave concern that such vagabonds and ill minded are entering into such a high level meetings.

    Well Mr abidi !!!!!!!!! if u had the objection over the presence of the USF CEO , then why u went to attend the meeting .

    If u r mature and can think properly, u must have denied the attending the meeting.

    Why to create so much fuss in the meeting by raising the irrelevent and needless hues and shouts and sarcazmic remarks agaisnt the honourable memebrs of BOD. It is matter of great shame that such a cheap and ruthless langauage was used at such a level.

    Shame on Faisal abidi.

    shame on faisal abidi .

  • Dardmand

    Upon following number of posts on your website and Universal Service Fund website one could see the pictures of dignitaries with smiling faces proclaiming their presence to be virtuous for the projects. Giving high hopes to the people that future is going to be better as they are doing their conscious efforts to ensure that, commending the management over its achievements and admiring the organization to achieve targets as desired but then all of a sudden the calm waters are hit by a cyclone.

    One of the most successful working unit of the Government is now being condemned? Isn’t it strange?

    Perhaps not. This mockery of personal interests has destroyed many of our institutions before and It’s not strange to see another ship go down.

    Pakistan Zidnabad

  • Fahad

    Looks like telecom companies doesn’t pay good enought to ministers in trems of BHATHA and that’s not fair this is their right

    • Tara Zaheer

      ;-) … Very justified remarks !!!

  • Mahesh Kumar Ahuja

    Well being a Employee of Ministry of IT, Minister is on right side, Secretary Deserve this. outsider cant judge why this attitude was adopted. IT as whole is in very danger, very professional people have left the IT despite that no jobs in Market. SO lets together to safe the IT.

    • Dardmand

      But what if the picture is really grim and someone is trying to take advantage of his position. What would you do in that case? Keep quite and let that happen, right!

      If I am not wrong you belong to one of Ministries attached department and are concerned with the IT enablement of the Government. Can you please elaborate how long you department has been there and what difference it has made in the IT sector? Let’s talk about the Government portal. Can you give your honest opinion about its current state?

      Please don’t take it personal, it is a fact that after working for so many years EGD has failed to make any difference. During these years many Ministers or Secretaries came, conquered and then left the arena. But has any one of them given us any vision, devised a strategy and guided us to the right direction? Who is not doing the job properly?

      I have not lost my hopes. I still believe there will be a day, inshallah, when we will walk with honor and dignity.

      Pakistan Zindabad

  • Anonymous

    I totally agree with the comments provided by Mr. Kumar. Only one side of the picture is provided in the article, we have to see the other side too before leaving any comments on this sensitive issue. Unfortunately, people holding the most key positions specially bureaucrates and technocrates either do not have the vision or deliberately avoid taking steps which have long term benefits for us (common citizens).

    The gross revenue of IT exports of India are USD 30 billion where as pakistan is merely hovering around USD 300 million. It has nothing to do with the technical skills of our countrymen but the whole responsibility goes to the people sitting at top like Executive Director EGD, Member IT, MD PSEB and other people like them holding such key positions.

    For example Member IT Mr Tariq Badsha the most biggest example of incompetancy, holding the same position since last 8-10 years and added no value. From last 8-10 years he is getting salary in 6 figures and not been able to give this country a single IT policy.

    Although our politicians are normally not very capable and honest ones but in this case atleast Mr. Khosa tried to clear some mess which has become parasite to our country.

    I think we should back every right decision and must not use negative approach for every decision our politicians/ministers take.

    My vote is with the steps Minister took and I hope people will also back his decision once the facts become public.

    Lets build our homeland and give a better future to our children which they deserve…….

    Long LIVE PAKISTAN

    • Dardmand

      <> “The gross revenue of IT exports of India are USD 30 billion where as pakistan is merely hovering around USD 300 million.”
      and
      <> “but in this case atleast Mr. Khosa tried to clear some mess which has become parasite to our country.”

      It seems you belong to the IT industry and You are right our IT industry has deteriorated in last decade. It’s quite natural that you are thinking in a limited dimensions as Presumably Telecom is not your concern.

      Kindly correct me if I am wrong, this USF has the mission to cover the unserved areas of Pakistan. Who knows the IT may flourish in the nooks and corners of Pakistan where no one has imagined before. All credit to the telecom infrastructure that connects them with the world which is otherwise unreachable to them. You being an IT guy will defiantly agree that telecom infrastructure is the key to IT proliferation.

      Please remember that Telecom sector on the other hand has seen tremendous growth. As per public information on PTA website Teledensity has increased from 2.8% in 2001 to 63.1 in 2010 (till April). Is this not progress?

      Agreed that we are looking at the one side of the picture but why facts are not becoming public. What is holding the accused party to clarify these allegations? Why they are showing stubbornness?

      Could it be that the actions were taken in haste without any grounds and that is why the “True facts” are not yet visible to the general public?

      We as public always end up with lots and lots of question which remain unanswered. Let’s hope this time it proves wrong.

      Pakistan Zindabad

  • Haq Parast

    Ironic to see that the poor khosa sb has no control over his ministry, people here speaking against khosa and abidi are not aware that this is Pakistan, khosa sb should take some lessons from the sindh IT minister raza haroon who has made sure that every individual working in his ministry from peon to director general is hardcore worker of his political party, i think khosa and abidi are not properly backedup by their political party, promote raza haroon as federal IT minister for a month and he will make sure that all the law abiding, god fearing officers like secretary, ceo and all others like those are *BORI MAY BAND*

  • despise

    Khosa has appointed two brothers , one as company secretary of ICT R&D and USF Jawad Ayub Baig, and the other Waqas Ayub Baig as Executive Director EGD.

    While waqas was working with EGD as a contract employee, his brother had been removed from EGD and was just loitering around. Both are in their early 30’s .. 32 or 31.. Educational backgrounds are suspect .. Allama Iqbal University Bachelors.

    It does seem the previous EGD Executive Director Raza Abbas is involved, as he was getting funds /consultancies from USF already and his father was a PMLN senator/MNA and he had run EGD for 8 years without any substantial progress (except for his bank account) . The Secretary IT had conducted an inquiry in the project for Food Agriculture and livestock (MINFAL) and raza was found to be the culprit in major frauds in procurement, which caused his USF consultancies to suddenly stop.
    The rabbit hole is deep.. waqas ayub might not be able to stick to the position of ED too long, but with the news item about the theft of DATA from PM sect Amer Shahzad has no chance any more.

  • In sider

    What are the achievements of Blue eyed IT Executives which have been serving for more then 8-10 years in IT departments of Ministry of IT. Nill a big “0” zero. No IT policy no IT cader defined for millions of IT professionals. This is criminal negligence due to which a massive brain drain in IT was observed in last years. All of the Executives were involved and look at their bank balances every one of them has the member ship of Islamabad club which cost near 1 million for one person, isn’t it paid by IT companies in gifts.

    What they have done for IT professional in compare , what they have earn for them selfs. All of them have lotted my homeland. Today IT run by Ministry of IT is a billion dollar scam. The money was lotted and distributed to benefit IT companies not for the public. IT totally flailed to provide its fruit for public as compared to India.
    My vote is with Minister IT he should clean this garbage as soon as possible.
    The big issue id the billion dollar muscle of Telecom and IT companies which are getting together against the Minister to save these blue eyed to protect their business.

  • listner

    Good lord

  • despise

    The Minister of IT has been asked by the sub committee for IT about his role in the illegal appointments. Some Buksh guy ripped through him. The dawn has the news item too.
    The minister for IT is gonna get into trouble now.

  • Patriot

    An interesting story provided by Mr. Ansar Abbasi. I am a keen reader of reports provided by Mr. Abbasi and respect him alot. Few days back i got a chance to meet a well known journalist during the same sitting his phone rang and he said “Yeh to khaber hoi naa, story kia hey”. The word “story” shocked me a lot as before that i firmly believed that these journalists provide us “news” not “stories”.

    Unfortunately, in our motherland we all are trying to find our convenience in our daily life. we used to had one landline in our home now every family member owns a cellular phone – convenience and one can find a lot more examples of such kind in our daily life. Convenience is the only reason we stopped going in the details of such kind of “stories”.

    As a layman, it is very hard for me to convince myself that why Mr. KHOSA, if he so corrupt as it is stated above, not joined hands with the black sheeps of Telecom Sector. Yes, I call them “Black Sheeps” coz they are not letting common people like me to reap the fruits of prosperity from all that so called development of telecom sector in Pakistan. Where is the “Cream” going?

    Why such educated and experienced persons like Mr. Khosa & Mr. Abdi were “shouting” like maniacs? The only reason provided above is Mr. Khosa “want” to induct his relative in ICTRnD fund company. “WANTED” – and assumption. Ok, for a little moment we assume this is true then another question raises in my mind, Why he asked to advertised the position of CEO at USF, why did not he made sure that the position of CEO at ICT RnD fund gets advertised before that. And why not he made a deal with so called “keepers of the book” who themselves involved in lots of illegal activities.

    For Example: Secretary IT – what is his relationship with Mr. Taseer (Ex-Owner of World Call)? What business he was into with Mr. Taseer. According to books, World Call was doing good business then why all of sudden Mr. Taseer let it go and sold World Call.
    Why a person gets promotions like given to Mr. Najeeb despite of the fact that in his group he was known as below average officer. Why he was given overnight promotions from Deputy Secretary (in BPS 18) to Secretary (in BPS 22). What was the role of Mr. Taseer in these out-of-turn promotions?

    Member Telecom – Why a person who was on 3rd position in the merit list was offered the position and the persons who were super-seeding him not offered? His wife is a working woman, where is she currently appointed and when was she appointed? Previous Member Telecom Mr. Baqai provided telecom sector a number of policies which due to the very nature of this sector expired and need extensive revisions. During his appointment, how many policies Mr. Mushtaq has given to this country. If he can not deliver then why he is holding such a key position. Is this because of he is safe-guarding the interests of these “Black Sheeps” while holding such a key position and got paid from our tax money? The approximate size of grey (Illegal) telecom traffic being terminated in Pakistan is Rs. 50 billion, why this income is not being taxed. We have Ministry of telecom, telecom regulatory authority, then what else we need to legalize this traffic.

    CEO USF – he signed contracts despite of the fact that there was clear “Conflict-of-Interest” and these contracts were in billions of rupees (some says 20 other says 15). In the above ‘story’ SECP rules and regulation, & Companies Ordinance were quoted at a number of occasions. According to these rules and regulations, every public limited company is bound to get its financial audit on yearly basis which is made available to public. And i was surprised to know that in the tenure of this “Mr. Clean” and “Mr. So Favourite” financial audit was not undertaken for a single time in USF. Reason – This “Cartel” does not want to disclose its activities. And now they are asking for the extension of such an irresponsible person for another term (i.e. 3 more years).

    Why can’t we put the culprits who are involved in illegal voice termination to justice. Reason is all the persons mentioned above, who were “very polite & Humble” during the standing committee meeting are either involved or watching the interest of this illegal activity.

    Now my question is if Mr. KHOSA is also corrupt then there must be natural inclination between the two parties whereas, as stated by Mr. Ansar Abbasi, “he faced mutiny-like situation in his own Ministry”. Why there is so mush contract?

    Why such a lucrative Ministry was deliberately kept without any public representative (Minister) for a period of two (approximately) years. Reason – no one in this “CARTEL” want to get these matters disclosed. ‘They’ wanted to run the situation in their own way which is quite obvious to all of us.

    To me Mr. Khosa did something terribly wrong by bringing all these facts on table.

    Although i was not the part of Meeting of Standing Committee but the only reason that comes to my mind is No one will keep silent over the rape of his mother and these people are rapping our motherland since long and they wanted to continue. And that is the reason why Mr. Khosa and Mr. Abdi were shouting at Sec IT, Mem-Telecom, USF CEO and Company Secretary.

    I hope, once the inquiry committee found these facts and present them to Standing Committee, all members of Standing Committee will be shouting at them; and once these findings of Standing Committee will reach all honorable members of Senate, these people will face the same treatment from entire house…..

    Khosa Sb., please do not loose your heart & keep up to your task. Our best wishes and all prays are with you.

    LONG LIVE PAKISTAN