NA Standing Committee Meeting – Amendment in Telecom Act 1996 & Grey Traffic Discussed

NA Standing Committee Meeting – Amendment in Telecom Act 1996 & Grey Traffic Discussed : IT Ministry directed to finalize Telecommunication Amendment Bill
ISLAMABAD (September 19, 2011) : Parliamentarians directed Ministry of Information Technology on Monday to speed up its efforts for consultation with stakeholders regarding Pakistan Telecommunication (re-organisation) Amendment bill 2010 and present final recommendation by the end of October.
The Amendment Bill would further strengthen Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and would help the authority to control/minimise Gray Telephony Traffic, which incurred massive losses to the national exchequer on a monthly basis.

NA Standing Committee Meeting – Amendment in Telecom Act 1996 & Grey Traffic Discussed – Daily Jang News Report Dated 20-9-2011

The mover of the bill, MNA Humayun Saifullah Khan informed the committee that the country suffers $200 to $500 million per month due to gray traffic and through the amendment bill, the PTA would be empowered to take appropriate measures against such illegal activities.
He also informed the participants that in the current Telecommunication Act, gray traffic was included but after this amendment, the government (PTA) would be empowered to take strict action against the violators.
Anusha Rahman Khan Advocate told the members that there is stigma on Pakistan—as it failed to control gray traffic and highly influential people were involved in this illegal business. Through this Amendment Bill 2010, there is expectation that gray telephony traffic will be reduced to a considerable level.
She claimed that influential people were involved in gray trafficking and “I don’t want to disclose their name here.”
Chairman of the committee Muhammad Barjees Tahir was of the view that some staff members in the PTA might be involved in gray trafficking but the PTA chairman Dr Mohammad Yaseen assured the committee that not a single person was involved in it and due to technology advancement the people purchased equipment and installed in private rooms and offices.
PTA chief said a large number of people both local and foreigners were involved in this illegal business. Some foreigners in Islamabad were arrested with the cooperation of FIA and later on they were freed from court just after first appearance. In some areas, one person was arrested three times in gray trafficking.
Secretary IT Saeed Ahmad Khan told the committee that the ministry could not oppose the Amendment Bill 2010, however, it seeks comments from the stakeholders in detail. He said the ministry already received comments from a few stakeholders and were waiting for others. Once the comments collected then it would be sent to law division and the Prime Minister for approval.
The secretary said further work is required for approval of this law and there is no need to be hurry for making legislation.
Anusha Rahman was of the view that there is possibility that some stakeholder might be involved in gray trafficking, as they apparently did not want this bill passed.
The PTA chairman told the committee that some culprits involved in gray telephony traffic gave him life threats.
The committee expressed resentment over life threats to PTA chairman and demanded the government provide security to him.
The committee expressed dissatisfaction over insufficient efforts made by the PTA to control the gray telephony traffic in Pakistan as it was causing great losses to the government exchequer. The committee strongly recommended that the Ministry of Information Technology and PTA take stringent measures to stop this illegal offence by taking strict action against the people involved.
The private member bill, “The Pakistan Telecommunication (re-organisation) Amendment Bill 2010” was moved by Humayun Saifullah Khan and four other MNAs. The committee appreciated the personal efforts of Khan, MNA—mover of the bill for identifying the deficiencies of the bill and proposing various amendments in the bill in order to overcome the deficiencies of the system to control gray trafficking in Pakistan.
(Published in “DailyTimes” on 20-9-2011)

Leave a Reply