Country’s Telecom Regulator Headless for Almost 2 Months

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is being run without a head for more than 50 days as the government is yet to appoint chairman of the country’s telecom regulator.

Major General (retired) Amir Azeem Bajwa left the charge of chairman PTA on January 2, 2023, on completing his four years tenure, as the government did not approve a further extension for him.

The Cabinet Division had reportedly verbally asked the former chairman to continue working for additional three weeks, which he rejected. The Cabinet Division has initiated the process for the appointment of the new member, after which the Chairman would be appointed.

Shortly after the former chairman completed his tenure, PTA’s Member (Compliance and Enforcement) Dr Khawar Siddique Khokhar also completed his four-year tenure on January 10, 2023, and left the charge of the post. The federal government has not approved the summary for the extension of his term, after which, he left the charge of the post. However, sources revealed that Dr Khawar’s extension summary has neither been accepted nor rejected so far.

Currently, both the positions of Member (Compliance and Enforcement) and Chairman PTA/Member (Technical) are vacant.

The reappointment of the only remaining member of the Authority, Mohammad Naveed, also become controversial as Pakistan People’s Party leader Farhatullah Babar challenged his appointment in the Islamabad High Court.

Sources informed that Mohammad Naveed, the sole member remaining in the Authority, can only run the day-to-day affairs of the authority and does not have the full powers. The government is yet to give the charge of the PTA chairman to any official, sources confirmed.

Sources further said that due to the absence of two members/chairman, the Authority is not complete and may face challenges in days ahead if continue for a longer period of time.

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