Under the leadership of the Senator Shahi Saeed, the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology has advised the government to take serious steps to recover the outstanding amount of $800 million from the telecommunications company Etisalat that it owes to the government as part of deal according to which Etisalat bought 26% shares of Pakistan Telecommunication Limited (PTCL).
The committee also asked the government to take action against those responsible for not only privatizing a profit-making organization but were also unaware of the process, resulting in the loss of such a massive amount.
Although Supreme Court took notice of the issue and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) also tried to help, the panel observed that the problem is still not solved.
PTI senator Shibli Faraz suggested that the government must take practical steps to recover the money. “Such an amount is huge for a country like Pakistan, and its loss is against national interest,” he stated. He also said that NAB’s inquiry report on this matter must be made public and distributed to the members of the committee.
PPP Senator Rehman Malik also stated that a serious action must be taken against those who were involved in the mismanagement of the privatization of the PTCL. Senator Naseema Ahsan urged for the immediate steps to take action against the Etisalat.
Senator Taj Muhammad Afridi indicated that it is the government which should recover the amount according to the agreement between the two companies.
Moreover, Privatisation Commission Chairman Muhammad Zubair said that NAB had conducted an inquiry into the case and the report has been submitted to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
He said that meetings with the UAE-based company are being held to resolve the problem. Zubair also said that the committee members must meet the officials of the Etisalat to settle the issue.
Earlier, Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar begged the government of UAE to pursue leadership at Etisalat to pay the outstanding amount.