Senate Body Directs PTA to Take Strict Action Against Grey Traffic

The Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology on Thursday directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to take strict action against gray trafficking and officials involved in it.In the meeting Senate Body’s Chairman Senator Muhammad Idrees Khan Safi was of the view that the call centers across the country were using offensive and immoral discussion with customers.

Senator Faisal Raza Abidi informed the meeting that one call center misbehaved with him. On contacting a senior official of PTA, no legal action was taken, he lamented. “If a senator, being member of the Senate Standing Committee on IT complaint is not being entertained properly, then what will be the behaviour with a common person,” he maintained. Abidi regretted that after passing of one-and-a-half-month still no action was taken against the call center on his complaint.

PTA Chairman Dr Mohammad Yaseen informed the committee that the PTA has taken action properly on the complaint of Abidi and warning notice has been issued to the call center. The meeting was informed that the Base Transceiver Stations (BTS)/Towers installed by the mobile companies could not meet the international standards. The PTA along with Frequency Allocation Board conducted an extensive survey in 2009 and 2010 in major cities.

According to the PTA chairman, the towers could not meet the international standards, which might have some negative health hazards impact on human lives. Like India, the meeting was informed that the volume of towers might be reduced through sharing of infrastructure network of different mobile operators.

The meeting also expressed serious concerns over increase in gray trafficking and inefficiency of the concerned quarter to control it. Dr Yaseen informed the committee that the PTA with assistance of the Federal Investigation Agency so far seized 216 systems, 35,436 equipments and even caught foreigners red handed, but regretted that on the next day they got bail from different courts.

The PTA is installing new equipments for dealing with gray trafficking.  The committee was informed that the employees of the Universal Service Fund (USF) were not paying salaries since July 1, 2010 as his board meeting was not held. However, the committee strongly recommended that the employees of the USF should be paid as early as possible and the inquiry should be carried out.

The meeting also got angry over the remarks of the PTA chairman that a Rawapindi Court issued stay order to two mobile companies to whom PTA issued notices to improve their services. The PTA issued such instructions on the directions of the Senate Standing Committee on IT.

Senator Zahid Khan informed the meeting that the court could not stay proceeding of the parliament nor the parliament could discuss the matters proceeding in courts. He said if someone informed the court that such instruction was issued to mobile companies through the parliament, then the court could not issue a stay order.

According to the media reports regarding delay in establishment of Date Center in Islamabad and the alleged malfunctioning of the Electronic Government Department (EGD), the meeting decided to discuss the matter after holding the first Senate sub-committee meeting on IT.  The meeting was also given a presentation on 3G technologies and stressed the member that it was need of the hour to adopt new and latest technology.

The committee was informed that ENERCON issued a directive to all cellular mobile operators to convert all BTS towers by solar panel till June 30, 2010. Switch over to solar system was not bad but the given time line was not the right decision.