Published on April 5th, 2012 | by Arsalan Mir2
Presidential Aide Attending PTA Auction Meetings
Express Tribune has recently reported that President’s Secretary General Salman Farooqi’s has started attending the 3G Auction Meetings. It should be mentioned here that Farooqi is not a member of the committee.
Excerpt from the ET report follows:
An official of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), who attended one of the meetings, said that there was an impression in the meeting that Farooqi was watching out for someone’s interest.
The Auction Supervisory Committee includes Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Water and Power Naveed Qamar and Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain.
“The ASC meetings are not in my knowledge,” said finance ministry spokesperson Rana Assad Amin.
President’s spokesperson Farhatullah Babar told The Express Tribune that Salman Farooqi was with the finance minister last week when PTA chairman came to discuss the 3G auction.
Babar in a text message after the telephonic conversation wrote “Salman Farooqi is not a member of the ASC on 3G and has not attended its meetings.”
The government is expecting to raise almost a billion dollars through the auctions to restrict the ever-widening budget deficit. The PTA has already postponed the auction scheduled for March 26 for Instaphone and March 29 for 3G after it failed to complete the requirements to ensure transparency.
State Bank of Pakistan and International Monetary Fund have already cautioned the government that it would not be able to complete the transaction during this financial year.
However, PTA yet again reiterated in the meeting last week that it would be able to complete the transaction by June.
There was no significant development in the meeting held last week, as PTA and Ministry of Information Technology failed to present new dates for the auction.
While the stakeholders holders are alarmed and doubts are raised on the transparency in the auction, President’s aide in the meeting be it for his interests indicates that the auction matter could be entering its final stages.