Replies sought in poor telecom service case

Published June 9, 2021
The next hearing was fixed for July 22 with the court asking the respondents to file comments about the petition before that date. — DawnNewsTV/File
The next hearing was fixed for July 22 with the court asking the respondents to file comments about the petition before that date. — DawnNewsTV/File

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and six internet and cellular companies to respond to a petition seeking orders for the provision of uninterrupted and quality services to consumers in the province.

A bench consisting of Justice Mussarat Hilali and Justice Mohammad Nasir Mahfooz issued notices to the respondents, including PTA chairman and the companies providing internet and telecom facilities, after preliminary hearing into the petition of Mohammad Tahir and five other consumers of cellular companies over poor internet and telecom services.

The next hearing was fixed for July 22 with the court asking the respondents to file comments about the petition before that date.

The petitioners also drew the court’s attention to the abrupt suspension of internet and telecom services by the companies on the PTI’s orders, especially for many days during the sit-in staged by a proscribed organisation in many cities in April this year.

Petitioners also draw PHC’s attention to abrupt suspension of internet, mobile phone services

They also requested the court to take appropriate measures for the protection of their rights and those of other consumers in the province.

The respondents in the petition are the PTA through its chairman, Peshawar PTA director (enforcement), four cellular companies, and two leading internet service providers.

Lawyer Noor Alam Khan appeared for the petitioners before the court and contended that it was the prime responsibility of the respondents to provide quality and uninterrupted modern telecom and internet facilities to their consumers.

He said that it was the responsibility of the PTA as a telecom regulator to ensure that the companies had been providing quality facilities to their subscribers.

The counsel said presently, the number of broadband subscribers had exceeded 100 million mark but those companies had failed in fulfilling their responsibilities towards their subscribers.

He said being the regulator for internet companies, the PTA had also failed to ensure the provision of quality service to consumers and thus it had become a redundant body.

Mr Noor Alam said in April, the PTA had issued a news release declaring that the people’s access to social media applications would remain restricted throughout the province though there was no emergency situation, which would have warranted such move.

He pointed out that not only access to social media sites was restricted but the service of internet was also suspended for many days in an illegal move.

The lawyer contended that it had happened in such a critical situation when a large number of internet and telecom users were getting online classes in their residences due to the restrictions caused by the outbreak of coronavirus.

He said apart from students, other segments of the society were also affected by the suspension of the internet service and the banking sector was among them.

The counsel said the respondents’ act in question was unconstitutional and a violation of the people’s right to information and others guaranteed by the Constitution.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2021

Opinion

Courts & the poor
Updated 20 Jun 2021

Courts & the poor

Justice eludes those whose homes have been demolished.
No choice but to leave
20 Jun 2021

No choice but to leave

The influx of Afghan refugees into Pakistan is likely to increase again with the US withdrawal.
Cost of enforced modesty
Updated 19 Jun 2021

Cost of enforced modesty

By inviting mullahs to regulate biology textbooks the PTI government has put Pakistan in reverse gear.

Editorial

20 Jun 2021

More vaccines needed

THE vaccination rate in the country has slowed in recent days and could result in a crisis if not addressed...
20 Jun 2021

Balochistan protest

THE clashes outside the Balochistan Assembly on budget day were unfortunate. But they had been waiting to happen. ...
Silent victims
Updated 20 Jun 2021

Silent victims

THE deafening silence of political authorities, including leaders from the religious right, on the Mufti Azizur...
19 Jun 2021

NA peace — for now

AFTER a session of utter pandemonium and a distasteful war of words, normalcy finally returned to the National...
India uranium theft
Updated 19 Jun 2021

India uranium theft

REPORTS emerging from India about the theft of uranium and possible sale on the black market should be a cause for...
19 Jun 2021

KCR rigmarole

THURSDAY’S proceedings in the Supreme Court clearly demonstrated how divided the stakeholders are when it comes to...