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Senate body flays mobile companies for illegal profits

18 August, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Standing Committee of the Senate on Telecommunications and Information Technology has said mobile companies are plundering the people with both hands in collaboration with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), "whose corrupt employees are taking their share from these companies".

The committee meeting was held at the Parliament House on Wednesday. Chairman of the committee Senator Idrees Khan presided.

He constituted an eight-member sub-committee under the chairmanship of Senator Zahid Khan which would submit its report to the committee after making an inquiry into the billions of rupees of corruption in the Universal Service Fund.

Chairman PTA Muhammad Yaseen told the committee that at present only 13 operators are allowed to bring international traffic of telecom signals to Pakistan. He said in 2008 a system was installed to check unauthorized signals, but only 30 percent international calls are being monitored as the system has not been upgraded till date. An amount of $10 million would be required o improve the monitoring system.

He informed the committee that Rs64 billion revenue was collected on account of international call traffic, which was given to Universal Service Funds. On the occasion the chairman standing committee pointed out that illegal international call traffic is on the rise as it shares 25 percent of the total telecom traffic.

Senator Faisal Raza Abdi said a fraud of Rs4 billion occurred in Universal Service Fund. He said several illegal telephone exchanges have been running in the country under the supervision of dishonest officers of FIA. The member board of director of Universal Service Funds is himself working as a contractor.

He said the role of PTA is almost nil and its staff is getting heavy salaries and perks for doing nothing. "One minute call drops after a few seconds, but the consumer has to pay full dues". The committee has decided to call representatives of the mobile companies in the next meeting.


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