The federal government has shelved the process for appointment of new chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) after failing to get a suitable candidate for the position, we have learned.
Cabinet Division has asked for fresh applications from suitable Pakistanis on open merit for the post of Member (Technical) in PTA, after which the Member would assume the charge of the chairmanship.
Against the previous advertisement, Khawar Khokhar, Mushtaq Bhatti, Saad Amaan and Talat Abbas were short-listed for the Chairman’s position and interviewed by the Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal-led committee. However, the committee reportedly failed to select a suitable name from the short-listed candidates.
Former chairman PTA Dr. Ismail Shah and another candidate Riaz Ahmed, who were called for interviews, did not appear before the committee.
The government had no option but to advertise the position again. It was also feared that the decision to select any of the four short-listed candidates would be challenged in the courts.
Alongside the appointment of Chairman PTA, the government also advertised the job for the Member Finance and has short-listed four candidates — including Tariq Sultan and Muhammad Naveed – after a thorough screening.
Official sources revealed that as per the advertisement for new appointments, persons having dual nationally will not be eligible for the appointment as a member PTA.
For the Member (Technical) a minimum of following qualifications and experience are required:
- (a) Ph.D in Telecom, Electronics or Electrical Engineering with major in telecommunication, with fifteen years relevant experience in a responsible position in public or private sector or
(b) M.Sc / M.S (Electrical/Electronics /Telecommunications Engineering) with major in Telecommunication or in a related discipline with a minimum of eighteen (18) years experience in a responsible position in public / private sector.
(c) The experience of working in the field of Telecommunications / Regulatory organization will be preferred.
- The applicants must be citizens of Pakistan.
- The appointment of Member shall be for a term of four years and the incumbent shall be eligible for re-appointment for a similar term subject to the condition that a member shall cease to hold office on attaining the age of sixty-five years.
- The person appointed as Member shall be paid the salary and be entitled to the privileges of an officer in MP-II scale (Rs.181, 500-27,225-290,400).
- The selected candidate will have to resign from his/her previous job and sever all connections/lien with his/her parent job/organization before joining under this new contract in MP scale.
- The selected candidate cannot have any direct or indirect financial interest in, or have a business connection with any person, any establishment or firm which renders telecommunication services in Pakistan or abroad or supplies telecommunication equipment to any telecommunication sector in Pakistan or abroad. Only shortlisted candidates will be called for interview.
The tenure of former Chairman PTA Ismail Shah ended on November 13, while Tariq Sultan, former Member Finance PTA, completed his four years term on September 26, 2017, and the positions are still vacant, making the Authority dysfunctional.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi denied extension for a second tenure to both the officials, while saying that the purpose of contract appointments is to ensure that the government retains the option to seek more qualified and better human resource from the market on the completion of the tenure, particularly for a fast-developing sector like telecom in Pakistan.