Talking to the Senate committee, Information Technology (IT) Minister, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, said that significant progress was expected in the recovery of $800 million from Etisalat.
The case dates back to 2005 when Etisalat acquired 26% shares in PTCL with management control for $2.6 billion. However, Etisalat tried to backtrack when they discovered the second lowest bid was around $1.4 billion. An agreement was reached which stated that Etisalat will pay $1.4 billion up-front while the remaining amount was to be paid by September 2010. As it stands, Etisalat has yet to pay the remaining $800 million, resulting in PTCL stopping all property transfers.
Another issue that was discussed in the meeting was the nonpayment of the increase in pensions to more than 40,000 former PTCL employees since 2010. The committee discussed why despite orders from SC, the payments had not been made. IT Minister, Khalid Maqbool said that he wanted to resolve the issue as soon as possible and that he would discuss the matter with the finance minister in the coming week.
Senators who attended the meeting emphasized the need for sorting out the issue. Senator Rubina Khalid blamed the government for deliberately delaying payment and urged the IT minister that he sort out the issue personally.
“People who dedicated their lives to the service of this country are being deprived of their lifelong savings at a crucial stage of their lives,” said Senator Imamuddin Shouqeen.
The meeting that was held at the Parliament House was chaired by Senator Rubina Khalid and attended by several senators including Rukhsana Zuberi, Taj Mohammad Afridi, Mian Mohammad Ateeq. Senior officers from the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, PTCL and Pakistan Telecommunication Employees Trust (PTET) also attended the meeting.
The committee decided to discuss the issue again in their next meeting which is scheduled for Jan 2, 2019.