The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) is being ruled with strong bureaucratic muscles, leaving no room for technocrats who have been work on research and development projects in autonomous ICT organization.
The bureaucratic strength supported by politicians has forced technocrats Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to resign from their positions and quit the organization’s affairs to be handled by their chosen ones, sources in the MoITT said.
CEO of ICT R&D Fund, Dr Aun Abbas, would be leaving the troubled organization within a week time whereas CFO of the Fund, Fawad Younus has also resigned to quit the organization, they added
Farooq Ahmed Awan, Secretary MoITT, has been giving the tough time to the officials of National ICT R&D Fund with undue restrictions and interventions in the day to day affairs of the departments.
Even the top officials were asked to take prior approval of the secretary before attending any private meeting such as conferences and seminars that was against the philosophy of autonomous body, which was partially governed by private sector members as funds providers to the industry.
The fund was established in 2007 with 0.5 per cent share of the revenue generated by all the telecom operators, aimed at promoting ICT research and industry. It comprises of a board of directors comprising academia, technology company chief executive officers and members of the telecom operators.
Although Farooq was not deputed as full-fledged secretary but as interim in January 2012, he issued several orders verbally and in written for the officials that created hurdles in the way of Fund to operate its functions smoothly.
“Since the new management has taken charge earlier this year at the Ministry of IT, the Fund has started to experience a number of issues that have significantly impacted the operations of the Fund,” Dr Aun Abbas state in a letter wrote earlier to the member board of National ICT R&D Fund.
Change of Guards with “new agenda”
The secretary is showing his muscles and trying to prove his loyalty with the Prime Minister who has appointed him as Additional Secretary In-charge in Grade 21 while ignoring many senior Grade 22 officers, source said.
With the new agenda, he picked up blue-eyed people in the chain of command in order to rule in the organizations of the ministry without any resistance.
He has appointed Muhammad Ahmed and Nilofer Arshad as an interim CEO and CFO of the ICT R&D Fund without taking the approval of the board of directors of Fund, which is also illegal as per organization’s rules and regulations.
The secretary has already suspended one independent director illegally from the board of ICT R&D Fund, Dr Aamir Mateen, who is representative of vendor industry and former country head of Cisco, and trying hard to clip the powers of others.
Awan has removed Muhammad Younus as Chairman National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) for not following his political agenda and appointed Wasi Mahmood Khan on his place.
He has also suspended some senior managers of USF who were against making payment of Rs. 120 million to an advertisement company without following public procurement rules.
It seems that he is desirous of forcing all competent and honest professionals resign from their posts so that he could fill up the posts with his blue-eyed and hand-picked corrupt officials because Minister of IT and Telecom Raja Perviaz Asharf are outwardly backing him as his party does with its political alliance, industry people said.
The political and bureaucratic alliance in the form of Minister of IT and Telecom, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Farooq Ahmed Awan once again occupied MoITT, which will result corruption, embezzlement and destruction of the industry, they added.