National Assembly’s panel has threatened to take unilateral decision on the privatisation of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) to Middle- Eastern Company Etisalat:
(English Newspaper dailytimes News report on Dated 22-10-2010)
NA panel meeting
Hafeez asked to brief on PTCL’s privatisation issue
Meeting reviews irregularities in the entity’s privatisation procedure
National Assembly’s panel has threatened to take unilateral decision on the privatisation of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) to Middle- Eastern Company Etisalat in case Federal minister of Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh who was then privatisation minister failed to appear before the panel in next meeting to brief on the issue of PTCL privatisation.
National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Telecommunication & Information Technology met at Parliament House to review the irregularities in privatisation of country’s largest public hold telecommunication company.
Committee took a serious notice on the absence of present Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Sheikh, who was holding the privatisation Minister portfolio at the time of the privatisation of PTCL, the committee believes.
The committee was of the view that Sheikh should appear in the meeting to explain the privatisation procedure adopted for PTCL during former president Pervaiz Musharaf tenure.
The committee was shocked to know that the Etisalat was enjoying 100 percent managerial control over the PTCL with its five members in its board of directors while the government has four representatives despite the fact that the government of Pakistan has 67 percent shares in the PTCL. Chairman Committee Barjees Tahir summoned Dr Hafeez Sheikh to appear before the committee in the next meeting to explain his side over the issue of PTCL privatization otherwise the committee would be forced to take unilateral decision on the issue. The committee also expressed serious concerns over refutation of the PTCL to give 15 percent increase in pensions to its employees in view of the current budget increase, as Secretary Ministry of IT informed the committee that the implementation on the increase could not be made because the management of the PTCL did not allow it.
Member committee Anusha Rehman of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) said that PTCL employees have submitted an application to the Supreme Court in which they have requested the apex court to take suo moto notice and also cancel the agreement. She feared that the deal could also be canceled.
The committee also expressed dismay over the 10-year performance of the ministry of IT.
Anusha Rehman said that the ministry has not even been able to develop the IT sector up to 10 percent of the Indian Bangalore IT city. She said the country’s population comprised of 25 million youth of which 57 percent are unemployed that include 25 percent IT professionals. The committee uttered displeasure over the matter of the Telecom Foundation as well as Pakistan Telecommunication Employees Trust (PTET) and asked the PTET to submit a copy of the rules within two days under which scholarships are being given to the children of PTCL employees.
The committee directed the IT ministry to conduct inquiry and submit report within one month about those who had got emplacements in the ministry and its attached department on fake degrees. The committee also asked the Telecom Foundation to conduct inquiry and submit report to the committee regarding a general manager who is employed with foundation and also doing another job in any other department. The committee expressed anxiety over the Electronic Crimes Prevention Ordinance. When the chairman of the committee asked about the status of the Ordinance, the IT ministry officials, however, said that the Ordinance was suspended as the National Assembly had referred it to its special committee and since no meeting of the committee had been taken place.
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