The Law and Justice Division has advised the Cabinet Division to withdraw/review administrative decisions, appointments, postings, transfers taken at Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) as orders were issued without lawful authority after expiry of the tenure of former Chairman PTA.
Cabinet Division has taken notice of appointments, postings, transfers and administrative decisions since November 11, 2017 at PTA and sought details of such actions from the Authority. Cabinet Division had also sought Law and Justice Division’s advice on the matter.
An official memorandum of the Law and Justice Division “Advice regarding powers of the Chairman PTA and Members of PTA” has been attached as a reference which stipulates that the powers of the Authority entrusted to Chairman PTA in terms of section 3 (8) relating to administration and the staff of the Authority, can only be exercised by Chairman PTA: “A member of PTA can only exercise such power if he has been appointed Chairman of the Authority by the Federal Government, under Section 3 (3) of the Act ibid. Further, section 3 (10) ibid protects the acts, proceedings or decisions taken by the Authority in case of existence of a vacancy or a defect in the constitution of the Authority. However, the said provision does not override the powers given to the Chairman PTA under section 3 (8) of the Act ibid”.
A Member of the PTA therefore cannot exercise the powers of the Chairman PTA relating to administration and staff of the Authority, under section 3 (10) of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act, 1996.
Senior officials of the PTA, in gross violation of rules and procedure, have reportedly appointed their relatives and business partners at highly lucrative posts.
The appointments are being made at a time when PTA has only one Member out of the three and has almost become dysfunctional. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has rejected further extension to former chairman Dr Ismail Shah and Member Finance Tariq Sultan of PTA and the Authority has currently only one member i.e. Member Enforcement Abdul Samad.
PTA recently advertised for the appointment of 21 officers including director generals, directors, deputy directors and assistant directors at different departments. These posts were mainly for Sindh as the provincial quota has not been taken into account so far leading to inductions from other parts of the country.
According to well placed sources, recruitment committee constituted by the former Chairman was dissolved by a sitting senior official when he began heading these committees. The official reportedly appointed his nephew as Assistant Director and daughter of his business partner also as Assistant Director. Another candidate, the nephew of Director Admin PTA, was hired as Assistant Director Admin.
Sources also maintained that a number of contingency staff/daily wagers are also being hired without following due process or procedure. A lot of transfers/postings orders have also been issued which can only be done by the Chairman.