Advertisement for Appointment of PTA Members Challenged in LHC

PTA-logoSeemingly the appointment for the Chairman and members of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is to get further delayed as a petition challenging the recent most advertisement for appointment of said positions has been filed in Lahore High Court.

Mr. Amjad Farooq Alvi, Chief Executive of Brain Telecommunication Limited has filed a writ petition before the Lahore High Court, Lahore challenging an advertisement dated 14-06-2013 published in various nationwide newspapers through which the Cabinet Division had invited applications for appointments of Member (Finance), Member (Technical) and Member (Enforcement & Compliance) of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

The Petitioner’s Counsel, Barrister Ch. Muhammad Umar informed the Court that the qualification and experience for the members contained in the advertisement was not in accordance with the qualifications and experience laid down in the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s Chairman and Member (Appointment and Qualification) Rules, 2013 which had been promulgated specifically to lay down the procedure and qualifications of members of the PTA.

Significant variations had been made to the qualifications and experience in order to ensure appointment of handpicked individuals.

He also informed the Court that high ranking officials in the relevant departments and ministries had even made unauthorized amendments and additions to the text of the draft rules after they had been duly vetted by the Ministry of Law and Justice and had been approved by the Prime Minister Division prior to the same being published in the official Gazette.

After hearing arguments of the Petitioner’s Counsel, Mr. Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh of the Lahore High Court has issued notices to the Respondents and has passed orders stating that any appointment made pursuant to the above advertisement shall be subject to the final outcome of the writ petition.

It merits mentioning here that PTA is entirely dysfunctional as authority is boss-less since Mr. Farooq Awan was dismissed by the Lahore High Court (LHC) on 15 January 2013 on conflicts of interests and violation of Telecom Act, 1996. While Member Finance,Nasrul Karim Ghaznavi completed his term on 24 February whereas Member Technical, Dr. Khawar Siddique Khokhar got retired from his position on March 16th 2013.

It will not be out of place to mention that Cabinet Division first advertised the jobs for Member Finance and Member Technical on on 29 January 2013. But just one day after the last date for applying, i.e., 14 February 2013, a new advertisement altering the qualifications, age and experience requirements was issued in order to accommodate favourites and blue eyed of the Government.

This alteration in job requirements were then challenged in Islamabad High Court in a petition filled by Wahaj us Siraj, CEO of Nayatel and Convener ISP Association of Pakistan (ISPAK).

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