ISLAMABAD - A parliamentary panel on Thursday expressed serious concerns over non-competitiveness in the much-awaited auction of 3G licenses and constituted a sub-committee in this regard to ensure transparency in the auction.

Meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology was held here under the chairmanship of Ch Muhammad Barjees Tahir to discuss the 3G policy in the country whether 3G auction went through competitive process.

Chairperson of Competition commission of Pakistan Rahat Konain briefed the committee about competitiveness in process of 3G auction but committee showed resentment over the briefing and directed Chairperson CCP to give details about preparation and consultation with all stakeholders. Members said that chairperson didn’t have facts regarding the matter.

During the meeting, secretary Information Technology and Telecommunication told that new policy for the auctioning of 3G is under process and auction would be done on previous policy. Standing committee showed concern over the information that how auction could be done over expired policy. Chairman of the committee Barjees Tahir said that how can the auctioning be fair and transparent under the umbrella of expired policy.

Sardar Talib Nakai asked about the qualifications of new telecom operators which would take part in the auction process of 3G in the country and said that auctioning of 3G spectrum without any new policy is not good.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and Ministry of IT and Telecom put the responsibility on each other about the formulation of policy for 3G auctioning. Chairman said that PTA and ministry have differences over this small issue then how the process of 3G would be fair and transparent?

Humayun Saifullah said that ministry of IT and Telecom has wasted the time and remained unable to hire the services of a consultant during four years.

Member of the committee, Sardar Muhammad Shafqat Hayat said that every person has information that government is ready to award 3G license to two particular telecom companies so after that why this process is being adopted for auctioning?

Barjees Tahir said that it seems that 3G auctioning process would be the new big scandal of corruption in the country. He said that it is not minor thing as this matter is of about 50 billion rupees.

At this, chairman constituted a sub-committee under the supervision of Anusha Rehman to see the auctioning process of 3G in the country. Secretary Privatisation Amjad Ali informed the 3G auction is not mandate of privatisation commission while Humayaun Saifullah said that spectrum is the asset of government and Privatisation Commission should be involved in it.

Chairman of the standing committee also quizzed the PTA officials that why they are using delaying tactics and creating hurdles in the Pakistan telecommunication bill 2010 presented to stop the grey trafficking in the country.

Chairman said that annually billion of rupees are lost due to grey trafficking in the country and PTA is doing nothing in this regard. He said there is immediate need to do legislation in this regard.  Chairman Barjees Tahir constituted sub-committee to discuss the bill of Humayaun Saifullah about grey trafficking and directed the committee to submit its report on immediate basis.