ISLAMABAD - Pakistan is losing hope of receiving due amount of $800 million from Etisalat against the privatisation of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) despite serious efforts made by Islamabad to resolve the pending issue of properties.

“Yes, apparently Etisalat is in no mood to release the pending amount worth of $800 million of Pakistan”, said a top official of the government told The Nation, seeking anonymity. “We have tried our level best to resolve the long-lasting issue by transferring almost 98 properties in their favour out of 131, but they are unwilling to meet our demand”, he added.

Etisalat, buyer of 26pc shares in PTCL, withheld over $800 million of Pakistan on a ground that Islamabad has to transfer all remaining 131 properties in their favour. Pakistan has transferred 94 properties and four is in final stages.

However, the government’s functionaries still believe to resolve long-lasting issue. “We will once again approach the Etisalat management through a letter to ask them to release 75 percent ($600 million) as Pakistan transferred majority of properties, 98, in their favour”, said Minister of State/ Chairman Privatisation Commission Mohammad Zubair while talking to The Nation.

 However, sources said that government is contemplating two options with best to ask the Etisalat management to clear the matter after receiving 98 properties by disbursing $600 million.

But, he said that Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar would take final decision in this regard. 

An Etisalat consortium bought 26 per cent stake in PTCL for $2.6 billion in 2005 that also gave Etisalat majority-voting rights. However, Islamabad did not get its due amount worth of $800 million despite passing nine years of privatisation deal between Pakistan and Etisalat. 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.

However, the incumbent government had expedited the process of transferring properties to Etisalat after assuming the charge, which is main reason behind non-disbursement of $800 million.

The government had decided to transfer 98 properties out of 131 in favour of Etisalat by the end of last month (March). However, Islamabad failed to get desire results.