ISLAMABAD: Government on Tuesday said allowing the military run Special Communications Organisation (SCO) to operate commercially will be a violation of both international and local laws.

“Under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regime that encourages competitive environment for businesses to grow, a government subsidised organisation cannot be allowed to operate in free market,” Member Legal, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Ameena Sohail, told a parliamentary subcommittee.

The Senate subcommittee on Information Technology met to discuss the issue of enhancing areas of operation of SCO all over the country.

The government and the Senate committee on IT have already opposed the SCO request to compete with private telecom companies. The ministry of IT argues that giving SCO autonomy and permission to operate as a commercial entity will be in contradiction of government’s deregulation policy.

The government maintains that the deregulation policy is aimed at giving a chance to the private sector to flourish.

However, during the meeting, Brig Khalid Hassan from SCO told the subcommittee that the Telecom Act recognized the telecommunications service provider as the solo operator in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

“The law also does not restrict SCO from operating in the entire country under licence from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA),” said Brig Khalid Hassan.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2017

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