The Supreme Court asked the government to expedite the auction process of 3G technology licences


The Supreme Court on Friday asked the government to expedite the auction process of 3G technology licences, to help increase its revenues.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heard the petition seeking the completion of 3G licences’ auction process and the early appointment of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) chairman and members.

“The government should ensure transparency in the auctioning of the 3G technology, which is not only beneficial to the government but also to the people,” remarked the chief justice, adding that the technology was a national asset.

The Deputy Attorney General Imranul Haq told the court that the government had appointed three PTA members. “The auction of 3G spectrum will soon be done and the court would be informed about the exact date of the auction after consulting with the authorities,” he added.

The government then submitted in the court a notification, informing that it had appointed Ismail Shah, Tariq Sultan and Justice (retd) Raza Khan as members of the PTA. According to the notification, Tariq Sultan was also to act as the acting chairman of the authority till the appointment of a new chairman.

The counsel for the petitioner objected to the appointment of Tariq Sultan, arguing that he held dual nationality.

Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry told the petitioner he could approach the forum concerned if he had any objection over the appointment of any PTA member. “There is no condition for the government servants in the rules and the dual nationality rule applies only to parliamentarians and advisers,” he added.

The CJ also raised question as to why the petitioner Khuram Shahzad was taking so keen interest in the appointment of PTA officials. “It seems either he wants himself to become the PTA chairman or works at the behest of some western countries,” remarked the chief justice.

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