ISLAMABAD, Oct 29 (APP): Senate Standing Committee on Information
Technology and Telecommunication was informed Thursday that
around 40,000 pensioners of Pakistan Telecommunication Company
Limited (PTCL) have been issued proforma to determine payable amount
and other details in respect of pension benefits.
“Billions of rupees are required to settle pensioners matters.
The pensioners are being paid pensions but the issue is settlement
of increase in their pension,” Minister of State for IT, Mrs. Anusha
Rahman said. The meeting, chaired by Senator Shahi Syed was also informed
that till 2010, the pension increases announced by Federal
government were adopted by Pakistan Telecommunication Employees
Trust (PTET) (agreed by Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited)
without any modification.However, the Federal government announced an unusual 20 per cent increase in pension in 2010, which was not applied by PTET Board to all the pensioners, keeping in view of applicable legal framework.
The meeting was attended by Senators including Rehman Malik,
Mrs. Najma Hameed, Gianchand, Taj Muhammad Afridi, Ghous Muhammad
Khan Niazi and Syed Shibli Faraz, Secretary IT, Azmat Ali Ranjha,
Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Dr. Ismail Shah
and representatives of Special Communication Organization (SCO),
Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR), Universal Service Fund (USF) and
National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC).
Senator Rehman Malik said retired employees tirelessly pursued
the case of non-payment of their pensions and Supreme Court had
finally helped the retired employees by ordering PTCL to clear all
dues.Anusha Rahman said now PTET, Federation of Pakistan and PTCL
have file review applications in Supreme Court where the preliminary
proceedings were held on October 21. The next date of hearing in the
matter is November 10.
All the Committee members present in the meeting emphasized
settlement of this matter on priority as per employees-favourable
verdict of Supreme Court.
In response to a point regarding telephony services in
Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the Minister said USF
has already completed its data collection to assess situation of
existing telecom infrastructure and related services in FATA.
She said as per estimates 1575 Mauzas, having population of
100 or higher, are unserved in different parts of FATA, subsequently
USF has designed some projects.
The meeting was informed that the reasons for project delay
in FATA was due to security situation as operators are reluctant to
go in these areas.With regard to matter of tax collection from telecom operators
in the country, a representative of FBR informed that forensic audit
of cellular companies would be conducted while provincial finance
departments have also been engaged to make the system of collection
more effective and strong.Chairman PTA said telecom sector is the major contributor
of taxes to national exchequer and it has been paying huge amount of
taxes to government regularly.
On a matter of grey telephony, Secretary IT informed the
meeting that proactive measures adopted during last two years are
bearing fruits as the legal (white) traffic has reached 1.5 billion
minutes per month from mere 390 million a year ago.
He said Ministry of IT had reviewed International Clearing
House (ICH) which resulted in massive improvement in legal traffic
from aborad. This has also helped increase in revenue generation
through taxes for the government. Besides, he said PTA also adopted
measures to control grey trafficking which causes revenue losses to
national kitty.On another matter regarding inclusion of FATA under SCO, Azmat
Ali Ranjha said mandate provided by telecom Act does not include
FATA in SCO’s area of jurisdiction. However, a summary has been sent
to Ministry of Law and Justice for legal opinion. SCO’s
representatives said they are prepared and awaiting formal approval.
Similarly, on issue of fraudulent mobile messages, Dr. Ismail
said PTA time to time has carried out extensive media campaigns to
aware general public to be alert of false monetary wins through
prize schemes or social welfare programmes.
Anusha Rahman said punishment on spaming has been proposed in
draft Cyber Crimes bill.
She assured the meeting that contracts period of 122
employees working in three schools and a hospital of Telephone
Industry of Pakistan (TIP), Haripur would be extended. She said the
TIP is a non-functional organization and has been included in
Privatization Commission list.