ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has once again started negotiations with the management of M/S Etisalat for the release of $800 million payment against the privatisation of Pakistan Telecommunication Limited (PTCL), a deal struck in July 2005.

"Negotiations are continuing but no success yet," said an official of the Privatisation Commission. He rejected the impression that the government was not serious in pursuing the case by saying top officials in the Ministry of Finance and Privatisation Commission were holding meetings with Etisalat management.

This is third consecutive government, which could not convince the UAE-based firm to release the outstanding amount.

Former prime ministers Shaukat Aziz and Yousuf Raza Gillani both had failed to recover the money generated by outsourcing state-run PTCL.

The incumbent government did not reserve $800 million against Etisalat in the budget for the financial year, 2016-17, giving the impression that it was least interested in getting the due amount.

Etisalat is not releasing the due amount even after the passage of 10 years despite the fact that Pakistan had accepted major demands of the management.

Etisalat had bought 26 percent shares in PTCL with management control at a price of $2.6 billion in 2005-06.

Under the agreement, the buyer had to pay total $2.6 billion by 2010.

Etisalat, a multinational UAE-based telecommunications services provider operating across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, had asked Pakistan for transferring all the 3,248 properties under PTCL's ownership.

Pakistan transferred all properties other than 34, and had reportedly asked the Etisalat management to deduct the price of 34 properties from the pending $800 million, which the latter did not accept.

As per government’s evaluation, the cost of these properties is $92 million whereas Etislaat has come up with the assessment of $400 million. Therefore, the issue is not resolved yet.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Minister of State for Privatisation Mohammad Zubair did not comment when The Nation approached them to give their viewpoints on the issues pending with Etisalat.