LAHORE – The Lahore High Court on Tuesday annulled the appointment of Farooq Awan as Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman and ordered his immediate removal.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah issued the order on a petition filed by Barrister Sardar Muhammad Ali through Advocate Reza Ali.

The petitioner said, “According to the section 3(2) of the Telecommunication Act, the PTA shall comprise three members. It further provides that of the said three members, one shall be a professional telecommunication engineer and the other be a financial expert.”

He added, “The act further provides in section 3(3) that from amongst the three members appointed under section 3(2), the federal government shall appoint one to be chairman of PTA after interviewing them.

“Former member and chairman Dr Muhammad Yaseen retired on July 23, 2012. According to the law, the slot of the member of PTA was required to be advertised in the Press by inviting applications from eligible applicants and short-listed candidates be interviewed by the selection committee and then final notification of appointment should had been issued by the prime minister.”

The petitioner said, “On July 28, 2012, principal secretary to PM informed the secretary of establishment that the prime minister approved the posting of Farooq Ahmed Awan, secretary of IT and Telecommunication, as member of PTA. Authorities neither advertised the slot nor invited application against the vacancy. On the same day the establishment secretary issued the notification of his appointment.”

On July 31, 2012 the secretary issued another notification appointing Awan as chairman PTA, he said, adding that the both notification were issued on authorization granted by the prime minister on July 28, 2012. He said the whole process was completed within a record time of 4 days.  The petitioner submitted that while making Awan’s appointment, neither any summary for proposing him as right person to be appointed as member of PTA nor he conducted interviews of other two members of the PTA to fulfill the vacant post of chairman.

He submitted that that appointment of Awan was made against the objects, scheme and provisions of the Telecommunication Act. He said it is ultra vires of Articles 4, 8, 9, 18 and 25 of the constitution. He said the appointment was made without abiding by the due process of the law and in pursuit of improper motives, without regard to relevant considerations, and without application of an independent mind at the expense of interest of users of telecommunication services and other eligible candidates for the position.

He said on authorization of the principle secretary to Prime minister, Awan was appointed as chairman PTA without adhering the selection procedure laid in the Telecommunication Act and the law and constitution of Pakistan.

He had requested the court to strike down the appointment of Awan as member and chairman of PTA for being ultra vires of section 3 of the PTA Act 1996, Article 4, 8, 9, 14, 18, 24-A and 25 of the constitution.  He also had also requested for directions for secretary establishment, PTA and principle secretary to CM to appoint chairman PTA in accordance with the prescribed selection procedure laid down in the Act.