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ISLAMABAD: The Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat has directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to take appropriate measures to improve the services of internet and provision of quality telecommunications services throughout the country, especially the far-flung areas of Balochistan and erstwhile FATA.

The Committee met under the chairpersonship of MNA Kishwer Zehra in the Parliament House on Wednesday. The Committee also directed to pursue provision of telecom services to the underserved areas through the Universal Service Fund.

The Committee also asked the PTA to launch helpline for people for lodging complaints regarding financial frauds and online harassment.

The Committee also decided to have a detailed briefing about the PTA regulatory mechanism and quality assurance in its next meeting.

The Committee also recommended non-closure of Abandoned Property Organization (APO).

The Committee was unanimous in its view that instead of closing down the organization and selling its properties, the same may be given to the affectees of 1971 who chose to become Pakistanis.

The Committee decided to pursue the issue with the Cabinet Committee on Institutional Reforms overseeing the process of wind up of APO.

While discussing the calling attention regarding closure of Abandoned Property Organization, the mover MNA Usama Qadri apprised the Committee in detail about the objective of moving the calling attention notice.

He said that APO Act did not authorize the Government of Pakistan to sell the properties and deposit the money in the government exchequer.

The chairperson opined that despite multiple directions of the Committee, the process of auction of APO properties was in progress.

The Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs recommended that the matter was referred to the Cabinet Committee on Institutional Reforms (CCIR) by the Cabinet, and it would be appropriate to pursue the issue with the CCIR.

The Committee acceded to the proposal of the minister and decided that the Chairperson of the Committee and few members would attend the meeting of the CCIR scheduled on agenda on 14th January.

The Committee while taking up agenda regarding observance of provincial quota, employment on fake domiciles and reasons for non-implementation of quota reserved for religious minorities, constituted a Sub-Committee under the convener ship of MNA Ali Nawaz Awan to discuss and thrash out issues related to the observance of quota.

The Committee observed that quota for Balochistan and ministries was not being observed causing sense of deprivation among the people.

Earlier, the chairman PTA briefed the committee about their role as regulator in detail. He apprised the committee that the PTA had carried out comprehensive plan to ensure quality services to the people of the country.

He said that underserved areas would soon be connected with the telecom services through the Universal Service Fund. He further informed that the PTA had been independently playing its role as a regulator.

The Committee meeting was attended by Minister of State Ali Muhammad Khan, MNAs; Saleem Rehman, Ali Nawaz Awan, Tahir Sadiq, Muhammad Aslam Khan, Uzma Riaz, Muhammad Hashim, Rasheed Ahmad Khan, Rana Iradat Sharif Khan, Shahnaz Saleem Malik, Seema Mohiuddin Jameeli, Mohsin Dawar, Usama Qadri, mover and chairman PTA, senior officers from the Cabinet, the Establishment, and other concerned departments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021