ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Monday directed the government to appoint Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman and its members within 10 days, so on the next date of hearing the new PTA chief give the schedule for the auction of 3G cellular licence.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heard a petition seeking a direction for auction of 3G cellular licence within 60 days, utilisation of USF and appointment of chairman and members of boards in Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
Advocate Ali Raza representing the petitioner, Khurram Shahzad Chughtai, argued that the Islamabad High Court had ordered for calling new applications for the appointment of PTA chairman and its members while the authorities concerned had submitted before the court that they have abolished the earlier process of appointments. However, the bench observed that till June 16 no application was cancelled, therefore, the government should stick the old process.
Muhammad Imran, Counsel of the Ministry of Information Technology, apprised that 165 applications were received and after that a summary was moved to the prime minister for appointment of chairman and the members and the PM had constituted a committee for the purpose. Upon that the bench inquired till what time the process would be completed. Imran said that it would not take more than two weeks.
The chief justice said already the auction of 3G had been delayed and due to non-functional of the PTA much damage has been caused, which showed the inefficiency and lack of interest of the relevant authorities. “Everyone wanted to protect its own interest,” he added.
The petitioner said that though the IHC had given decision but still applications, pertaining to the case, were pending with the Lahore High Court (LHC). Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked it seemed that the cases had been filed in different high courts to delay the matter.
The chief justice, referring a case, said the petition should only be filed in those high courts, where notification was issued. “As the instant matter concern to the federal capital therefore the Islamabad High Court was competent to hear the case,” he said.
The chief justice said when the applications had been received and the committee had been constituted then why it was delayed. He asked the counsel for the Ministry of Information to conduct the interview for the appointment of PTA chairman and the members within one week.
Justice Chaudhry observed that due to not auctioning of the 3G licences, billion of rupees loss had been caused to the national exchequer. He said now the 4G technology has been introduced. He said till the appointment of the PTA chief and the members, the process for the 3G could not move forward.
After the court break when the hearing resumed a statement on behalf of the secretary Cabinet Division was submitted before the bench that as the matter was pending in the Lahore High Court therefore the June 16 advertisement for the appointment of PTA chairman and the members had been cancelled.
Ali Raz told the court that Secretary IT Kamran Ali Qureshi had been transferred after the last hearing.
The court in its order directed the government to make appointment of the PTA chairman and its members within 10 days and give the schedule of the 3G auction on the next date and adjourned the case till September 16, 2013.