Member Compliance at Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Mr. Abdul Samad, has been allowed by the Islamabad High Court to exercise authority powers, we have learned.
Since the position of Chairman PTA and Member Finance are currently not filled, the highest-ranking member of the authority, therefore, happens to be the Member Compliance at the moment.
In such cases, when a lone member is available, the Cabinet Division usually notifies them as acting Chairman of Authority. In such a position, he/she is allowed to run the regulatory and day to day matters at the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.
Cabinet Division, however, didn’t notify Mr. Samad as the Chairman, keeping the authority dysfunctional ever since the stepping down of Dr. Ismail Shah, former Chairman PTA.
In a new ruling, Islamabad High Court has allowed Member Compliance to exercise authority powers until a Chairman is appointed in his place.
The member or members, as the case may be, can exercise the powers of Authority despite existence of vacancies or defect in constitution of the latter.
The legislative intent of subsection (10) of section 3 of the Act of 1996 is obvious, i.e. to ensure that the functions of the Authority are not impaired or prejudiced because of a vacancy of defect in its constitution.
This move will come as a sigh of relief for the telecom industry as a lot of cases were pending and in limbo, since PTA was without a Chairman.
Not to mention, the government tried to appoint a Chairman but couldn’t find a suitable person for the position. It is anticipated that the PTA Chairman’s position will stay vacant for the next several months as it’s likely that the new government — due by September 2018 at the earliest — will appoint Chairman PTA.