ISLAMABAD  - In a major development, the government has transferred outstanding 68 properties out of 131 in favour of Etisalat.

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting with senior officials of the Privatisation Commission and Ministry of Finance to review the status of transfer of properties in the name of PTCL. The Minister was informed by Chairman Privatisation Commission, Mohammad Zubair that out of 131 outstanding properties as on June 23, 2013, 68 properties have been transferred in favour of PTCL, whereas, the transfer of the remaining properties is also in progress. He informed that the Commission is in contact with the provincial governments for early transfer of properties.

It is worth mentioning here that an Etisalat consortium bought a 26 percent stake in PTCL for $2.6 billion in 2005 that also gave Etisalat majority-voting rights. The UAE firm paid an initial $1.80 billion as per the deal terms, which also included transferring ownership of the properties to PTCL from the government. Etisalat was to pay the remaining $800 million it owed in six twice-yearly installments of $133 million, but has withheld payment as the transfer of some of these properties stalled. At the time of privatisation of PTCL, there were a total of 3,248 properties to be mutated in favour of PTCL. Of these, 3117 have been transferred till date leaving 131 outstanding properties, which include 32, public and 99 private.

The Finance Minister, after detailed briefing, directed Privatisation Commission to accelerate the process in order to deliver on the commitments of the Government of Pakistan for expeditious transfer of properties to PTCL.

 He emphasised that this will secure the release of outstanding payment from the management of PTCL. Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood, Secretary Privatisation Amjad Ali Khan, Advisor to Finance Ministry, Rana Asad Amin and SA to FM, Shahid Mahmood also attended the meeting.