Parliamentary Panel Recommends to Sell PTCL Again in Open Market

National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication stated that Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) be auctioned again in open market, if the current owner (Etisalat) fails to pay the remaining payable amount of $800 million on account of privatization in a given time frame.

Committee didn’t a say word on time-frame but said that there’s no other way of recovering the pending amount.

Also Read: Pakistan Gives Up Hopes of Recovering $800 Million from PTCL

The committee met under the Chairmanship of Capt. (Retd) Muhammad Safdar which expressed annoyance over delay in the release of about $800 million by the Etisalat on account of PTCL’s privatization.

Etisalat is holding $800 Million for over 10 years now.

The Committee directed the IT Ministry for giving time frame to the current owner of the PTCL to pay the pending amount to Government of Pakistan.

The parliamentary panel stated that if the current owner fails, PTCL be auctioned again in open market.

The committee also discussed the calling attention notice moved by Omer Ayub Khan, ex-MNA, regarding the issues of Telephone Industries of Pakistan (TIP), Haripur.

Anusha Rehman, State Minister for Information Technology, briefed the committee about the history of TIP and related challenges and issues.

The Committee discussed the issue in detail and directed the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication to take necessary steps pertaining to TIP till 30th August, 2016 i.e. to disconnect all utility connections of illegal occupants of the houses of Colony Board in Haripur, who were not paying their utility bills. Further, it has been directed that stern action be taken to vacate the houses of Colony Board from illegal occupants.

The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication is yet to resolve the issue of outstanding amount of Rs 274 million of TIP towards Technological Service Corporation (TSC) & National Radio Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) on account of their contribution share towards TIP schools and hospitals. TIP utilities were reportedly utilized by others while the bills were being paid by TIP.

The Ministry was being directed earlier for taking concrete steps to bound PTCL, TIP and NRTC to bear all financial expenses being incurred on the schools, colleges and hospitals which have been established on the land allocated to these entities respectively, however the issue is yet to be resolved.

At the same time, on other hand, the Senate Standing committee on IT also met with Shahi Syed in the chair.

Chairman NTC Waqar Rasheed Khan said that NTC is a corporation and have its rules and regulations. The Organization is giving Rs 359 million profits and taking no funds, grants budget from the government.

The committee appreciated the efforts of NTC for reviving itself back to profits. The committee raised questions on the collection and utilization of Universal Service Fund and directed for a briefing on the issue in next meeting.

The committee also expressed anger over the absence of senior officials of the IT ministry from the meeting and directed them to ensure their presence in next meeting.

The committee underlined the need for greater national unity and unison to eliminate menace of terrorism. The committee strongly condemned the Quetta blast which claimed lives of dozens of innocent people. The chairman asked the quarters concerned to take stern action against the elements, having soft corner for people carrying out subversive activities.

Rehman Malik suggested strict punishment for those using stolen and snatched mobile phones and said he would propose legislation in the Senate, accordingly.

Shibli Faraz said the political parties would have to shun the tendencies of expediency and show courage to wipe out the menace of terrorism.