High Court Strikes Down Altered Advertisement for Appointment of PTA Members


Islamabad High Court (IHC) has set aside the modified advertisement issued by the Cabinet Division on 14 February 2013 for appointment of two members of Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) and has ordered to make appointments in light of first advertisement of 29 January 2013. Hearing a Writ Petition filed by Wahaj us Siraj, Convener, ISP Association of Pakistan (ISPAK), Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of IHC has ordered the Cabinet Division, the controlling Ministry of PTA, to make appointment of Members of PTA by following first advertisement. The Petitioner has submitted that Cabinet Division issued another advertisement on 14 February, just one day after the closure date of applications in response to first advertisement and after looking at all credentials of all applicants, manipulated the process by changing the qualifications, age and experience requirements of candidates in next advertisement. This malafide action was done to filter out strong candidates on the one hand and to accommodate favourites on the other hand, the Petitioner submitted through his consul Afnan Karim Kundi. Representing Cabinet Division, Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, Deputy Attorney General, submitted to the Court that after issuing first advertisement, Cabinet Division drafted rules for appointment of members and chairman PTA and the draft was sent for approval of the then Prime Minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, through Establishment Division. As verbally informed by the PM Secretariat, the DAG noted, the draft rules were considered by some “experts”, subsequently approved by the Prime Minister and then sent to Cabinet Division for notification and a revised advertisement was issued accordingly. PTA, facing a complete paralysis in its history, has been without a chairman since 16 January 2013 when Farooq Awan, an all time favourite of ex-Prime Minister, was dismissed by Lahore High Court (LHC) on account of conflict of interests, and two of its Members completed their tenure in March amid last minute aborted attempt by the PPP led government to auction mutli-billion dollar 3G spectrum, attracting allegations of massive corruption and pressurizing of ex Members of PTA.

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