NA standing committee on IT & Telecom Meeting – 3G Policy discussed
– Body alleges Shaikh mishandled the privatisation of PTCL
– Suspects this time the same wrong methods may be repeated in 3G policy by him
ISLAMABAD (January 30, 2012) : Expressing serious reservations over introducing 3G technologies in Pakistan, the NA standing committee on Information Technology and Telecom criticised Federal Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, who could not allow Secretary IT to give presentation over 3G.
The committee, headed by PML-N member national assembly Muhammad Barjees Tahir and its members questioned that recommendation of the committee was not incorporated in 3G Policy, for which the government already inviting bidders for its license issuing. The chairman said India also introduced 3G policy but some kick backs were reported and the same wrong-practices are expected in Pakistan, saying that is why the finance minister not himself bother to attend any standing committee meetings, and not allowed the secretary to give presentation over 3G policy. When Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was minister for privatisation, he done the privatisation of PTCL, which is a wrong transaction and now for the introducing the 3G Policy and license issuing the same wrong method might be repeated by the minister. The committee seeks details presentations over 3G-policy to know, whether recommendations of the committee were incorporated or not in it. The finance minister assured that he would give detail presentation over privatisation of PTCL but never honoured his commitment.
Supporting chairman point of view, the PML-N lady legislator Anusha Rahman Khan Advocate said that they were listening for the first time that a secretary was bound not to give presentation over 3G Policy to a parliamentary committee. We want to bring new foreign investment in the country through 3G technologies but the government has made the policy for existing mobile companies. She blamed that the government is trying just to protect interest of foreign investors without taking care of country’s interests. She said a lot has been written in media against the wrong doing in 3G policy and it looks that another PTCL’s type transaction will be made in granting license of the new technology.
Sardar Talib Hasan Naki was of the view that the information technology committee never briefed properly over 3G policies, which is need of the hour. He suggested that the meeting should be postponed, as this was an important point of today meeting. Sardar Muhammad Yaqub Khan Nasar was of the view that Abdul Hafeez Shaikh is not contesting general election nor he face general public, saying that people always asked corruption, bad governance, favouritism done by the government. If recommendations of the committee are not incorporated in the 3G policy, then there is no justification that the committee held any meeting.
The committee was of the view that their concerns over 3G policies should be removed through proper presentation over it. “The committee is not ready to take presentation from federal minister for finance,” chairman of the committed added. The government is doing injustice with ministry of Information Technology, as it could not have full-fledged minister. The chairman said a lot of wrong practices were identified by former IT Advisor, Minister and presently Governor Punjab, Latif Khosa. He asked the Secretary IT Farooq Ahmad to find out Khosa letters and objections he raised against the ministry officials.
He directed the Secretary IT to provide detail presentation over 3G on or after February 8, 2012. The secretary assured that he would provide a presentation copy in advance for the convenient of committee members and also arranged the briefing as directed by the committee.
Later, the committee also expressed serious worries about the contracts (development projects) giving by Universal Service Fund to different companies. Minister of IT Director Ali Mehmood briefed the committee about procedure of giving contract to the contributors companies. It was informed that all the companies up to some extent are defaulters except few. Some of these companies are going to courts and took stay orders. The committee directed to provide details of all defaulters companies in next meeting.
(Published in DailyTimes on 31-01-2012)