Government of Pakistan is likely not to appoint any new chairman for Pakistan Telecommunication Authority for at least one month, told us highly placed sources, who are directly aware of the development.
Chairmanship of PTA was spared yesterday when Mohammad Farooq Awan was removed by a Lahore High Court as his appointment was declared null and void.
Hearing a petition filed by Khawaja Saad Saleem (of Nayatel), that had challenged the appointment of Mr. Farooq Awan as Chairman PTA, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah of Lahore High Court said that appointment was not in accordance to law.
After removal of Mr. Farooq Awan, our source tell, Mr. Nasrul Karim Ghaznavi, member finance, is likely to get administrative charge for running day to day operations at authority. Government will probably wait for a month and half before appointing any regular chairman at PTA.
This can particularly be true because the service term for both the members (finance and technical) is ending next month, while the extension for Dr. Khawar Siddique Khokhar, member Technical, has been disapproved. He is retiring from PTA on February 24th, 2013 after completing four year term. Similarly, Mr. Nasrul Karim Ghaznavi will complete his service term on February 25th, 2013.
As per sources, government has learned from its mistakes and will not directly appoint any chairman this time. Instead it will appoint a member before making him/her the chairman of the authority. Meaning that, government will have to wait for one month to appoint someone the member of the authority.
It merits mentioning here that current members, who are eligible for becoming the chairman, are not in good books of government. Their differences with Raja Parvez Ashraf, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, grew when both the members denied to sign the IM for 3G. It is said that government considers both the members the sole reason for delay in 3G auction.
On other hands, before his removal, Muhammad Farooq Awan had initiated the process for increasing the members’ count at PTA, which has now matured and is supposed to become a policy soon. It is said that government may soon notify to increase PTA’s member count from three to five. Additional members will include: Member Legal and Member Commercial.
In any case, the government must wait till at least one member slot is vacated, until then Mr. Ghaznvi will remain the acting head of authority.
We will of course keep you posted with any developments on this.