The Pakistani Finance Minister, Hafeez Shaikh, has called on UAE-based telecoms group Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) to make an immediate USD500 million payment related to the latter’s acquisition of its majority stake in Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL). According to Dawn.com, Shaikh has said that in return for the swift payment the Pakistani government will commit to completing within ten days the transfer of a number of properties which were included under the terms of Etisalat’s PTCL stake purchase. It is understood that the Pakistan government is seeking the payment with a view to avoiding a breach in the country’s fiscal deficit target for this financial year, which ends on 30 June 2010.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Etisalat has withheld payments totalling USD799 million until the properties in question are registered in PTCL’s name. In late March 2010 Pakistan’s Ministry of Privatisation (MOP) said that of the 311 properties that formed part of the 2006 transaction, 118 had already been transferred to PTCL, while a further 17 were ‘under some litigation’.