No further delay in 3G technologies – SC
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has questioned the effectiveness of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) as the country is still waiting for the 3G technologies.
In his budget speech on June 12, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had claimed that the government was expecting Rs120 billion from the proposed sale of 3G licenses.
Petitioner Khurram Shehzad Chughtai, who has 10 years of experience in information technology and telephony sectors, said the auction should be held within 60 days in a transparent manner and its proceeds deposited in the federal treasury.[blockquote cite=”Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry”] It is the fundamental right of citizens to have latest mode of communication and it will surely generate revenue for the country.
The court regretted the IT ministry was yet to submit a reply explaining reasons why the chairman and members of PTA had not been appointed. 3G licenses had been postponed indefinitely and the process was getting more complicated. In the absence of the chairman, PTA’s budget has lapsed and there is no money even to pay salary of its staff.
Advocate Ali Raza, representing the petitioner, said the PTA had been non-functional and its office closed for all intent and purposes. A staggering amount of Rs42bn in the Universal Service Fund, an exclusive fund reserved for investment in the telecommunication sector, has been transferred to some other heads by the government last month through an executive order.[blockquote cite=”The Counsel”] This fund cannot be used other than the telecommunication sector
[/blockquote] The attorney general’s office has been asked to get instructions from the cabinet and the IT ministry about the appointment of chairman and members of the PTA and the steps being taken by the government for the auction of 3G licenses.
Referring to the USF fund, the court asked the petitioner’s counsel to submit a proper application. The court observed that the fund could not be utilized by the government for any other purpose through an executive order.
[blockquote cite=”Supreme Court”] The government has to offer an explanation
[/blockquote] The court issued a notice to finance secretary and asked him to furnish a justification after which an appropriate order would be issued.