In a historical judgment while hearing bail applications filed by two PTA officers, the honorable judges grilled NAB Investigator and Prosecutor on its mala-fide intentions on its investigation regarding the 3G/4G Auction and Warid Telecom Up-gradation to LTE. The IHC also approved pre-arrest bail application of both the officers.
NAB has mala-fidely tried to influence the case by creating a hype, which has adversely effected the business environment in the country
The learned judges observed that NAB is an investigation authority and cannot interpret policy decisions. They also observed that the entire documentation submitted before the court does not reflect true interpretation of the facts. The IHC also observed that NAB has mala-fidely tried to influence the case by creating a hype, which has adversely effected the business environment in the country. The court also observed that even the federal government does not agree with the stance taken by NAB with regards to the investigation.
It is important to know that telecom industry has made rapid development in Pakistan for the past three decades despite turbulent times and has been a success story in terms of attracting FDI, providing jobs, supporting other sectors (such as commerce, transport, education, health, Women Empowerment etc.). Further, it has provided transparency & efficiency in the working of the Government and the Private Sector. However, all this good work seemed to be hitting a wall as National Accountability Bureau (NAB) started various inquiries that have infuriated the Telecom Industry for reasons that most industry experts have termed irrational especially regulatory decisions that are industry norm and standard practice for almost two decades such as Technology Neutrality.
Inquiries on Industry Norms & Regulatory Standard Practice for Almost Two Decades such as Technology Neutrality has Infuriated Telecom Industry-could set Industry Development Clock Backward
The Industry experts feel that NAB has been ill-advised to pursue such inquiries and investigations. Whereas others are of the opinion that this is being done with some other mala-fide intentions. Most of these fingers do point towards the Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) whose Executive Director (ED) was recently suspended, which reportedly played a key role in creating much of the chaos.
The ED FAB was accused of not only wrongdoings but also for his questionable appointment without following any process of merit. However, with his suspension and now the decision of the IHC the industry has taken a sigh of relief. The investigations by NAB have not only brought disrepute to its credibility but have also caused more harm to the industry. Where license renewals were already delayed earlier this year, now it seems that 5G introduction in the country may not happen anytime soon setting the industry development clock backward.
While, investigation on Warid LTE up-gradation has been going on for the past almost two year on PTA current and retired officers, a NAB investigation started and notices were served to other PTA officers on Ufone LTE network up-gradation earlier this year. The investigations by NAB have shaken market confidence of the regulator and had brought the work of the industry to a grinding stop on important issues.
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