PTA funds dry up as top positions left vacant

26 Jul 2013

The lack of leadership at the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has left the regulator unable to secure funding from the government, Pro Pakistani writes. The watchdog has exhausted its existing finances and cannot source further funds from the government as the authority’s budget must be approved by the PTA’s chairman and Member Financial – both positions have been vacant since February this year – leading to concerns that the body will be unable to pay the salaries of its staff from next month. The PTA has been non-functioning for the last six months, following the dismissal of controversial chairman Farooq Awan in January 2013 and the retirement of the Members Financial and Technical (the two most senior positions within the PTA after the chairperson), in February and March respectively.

Allegations of corruption and nepotism have subsequently prevented the seats from being filled as legal challenges have overturned the government’s attempts to tailor the requirements for the positions to fit favoured candidates. In one case, the requirement that the Member Technical be a qualified, professional engineer registered with the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) was removed. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that in the wake of Farooq Awan’s removal, director general (enforcement) Sajjad Latif Awan – who had been appointed by the ousted chairman – was sacked after it emerged that he did not have the engineering qualification or PEC registration required to hold the post.