Federal Secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication Farooq Ahmed Awan will soon take over as chairman of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) after joining the regulator as one of its members – a prerequisite, making him eligible for the chairmanship.
Farooq Awan Appointed as PTA Chairman
Mr. Farooq Awan has mailed his joining letter and is now the third member of PTA – an independent government body that regulates the IT and telecom sector, an official close to the matter said on condition of anonymity. Although it has been communicated to PTA unofficially, the authority is yet to receive an official notification of Awan’s appointment as chairman. Interestingly, Awan’s joining report didn’t mention whether he was appointed as member technical or member finance. For the first time in the PTA’s history, a member has been appointed without portfolio.
Mr. Farooq Awan is given the headship of authority at a time when telecom industry is undergoing various challenges including tax evasion issue of PKR 47 billion, non-payment of PTA dues over PKR 50 billion from LDI and other telecom operators, auction of 3G licenses and managerial / structural issues at authority itself.
The prime minister has already instructed PTA to advertise for hiring a consultancy firm to facilitate the auction. He is now appointing his trusted men to finish the job, that is why Awan has been downgraded from the post of federal secretary to the PTA member.
Mr. Farooq Awan has background in finance, so technically he should have been appointed member finance, the official suggested. However, given Shabbir Ahmed was already serving as member finance while Ghaznavi, too, was reinstated as one, Farooq Awan could not be member finance. The Act allows a maximum of two members with finance background while the third one has to have technical background.