IT HAS always been the dilemma of the policy makers in Pakistan that majority of the drafted policies hardly see light on the other side of the tunnel mainly due to their shortsightedness, shallow approach or inability to do complete homework before coming up with a policy on certain important issue. Sometimes they had to roll back their own drafted mechanisms following the sharp criticism on the part of public or the world at large on national issues. The auction of 3G/4G licences has now become the hot topic in the country for which the government has already fixed March 28-29 as the bidding date. The introduction of 3G/4G technology has earlier been delayed repeatedly by the government of Pakistan on one pretext or the other thus giving birth to strong reservations as well as doubts amongst the intending bidders about the credibility of government and its seriousness regarding launch of this technology. The auction of 3G/4G technology is also no exception and is likely to again face delay of about three to six months despite all has been fixed for March 28-29. Main factor again is the lack of capacity, inappropriate planning and incomplete homework by the PTA and the latest scenario would put the telecom authority in a very awkward position. Now as the government is hardly a month beyond the fixed date of auction, the PTA has recently released an advertisement in the print media in which it has sought Expression of Interest (EOIs) from the internationally reputed consultancy firm which will advise, assist and provide full support to it for the 3G/4G auction. This advertisement is a brazen example of the immature and inappropriate approach of the telecom authority towards handling the important issue of 3G/4G technology, especially at a time when the government is eyeing to use the licences sale proceed to give support to the national ailing economy. Appointment of a firm as consultant is compulsory to conduct transparent auction in a successful manner. This exercise should have been done far before the auction date as the consultancy firm, of course, would need a sufficient time to fully comprehend the whole auction exercise. Or otherwise any further delay would certainly strengthen the already existing doubts about any foul play like accommodating some blue-eyed firm or person on the party of the authorities concerned. Pakistan, which presently is confronting with economic as well financial crunch, by all means, is in no position to afford such mishandling of important financial affairs like the 3G/4G auction. Furthermore, such inappropriate homework would further scare the foreign investors who are expecting the government of Pakistan to ensure the investment-friendly environment in the country.
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