ISLAMABAD – With only less than two weeks for the turning point in Pakistan’s telecommunication sector, the standing committee of the Senate (upper house of the parliament) termed the 3G and 4G auction in Pakistan as illegal.
According to the details retrieved from parliamentary secretariat, the state minister of information technology Anusha Rehman and her ministry’s official were in literal shock when chairman of the Senate’s standing committee Muhammad Idrees Khan Safi made the recommendation.
Safi asked Anusha Rehman to first appoint the ‘Member Compliance and Enforcement’ officer in the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and then go for the auction. Otherwise, he believed that any action/activity carried out without filling the post would be ‘illegal’ including the 3G and 4G auction, scheduled to be held on April 23, 2014.
Moreover, it was learnt that the said position in the PTA lying vacant for long. The Cabinet Division had last advertised to fill the seat in June 2013.
“We recommend to the ministry of information technology to stop the auction until the vacant position is filled or else explain under what law the PTA is holding the auction when just two members are in the office,” Senator Mohammad Idrees Khan Safi said during the meeting.
He gave the ministry seven days to bring the auction in line with the PTA rules, a clear reference to filling the vacant member’s post and formed a three-member sub-committee to assist the state minister in fulfilling legal requirements for holding the auction.
Nonetheless, State Minister for Ministry of IT Anusha Rehman reminded the Chair that the Committee could only make recommendations.
Confronting the committee chairman, the minister said it could not bind the ministry to stop the auction.
“We will go ahead with the sale of the licences as per schedule,” said Anusha Rehman.