The Islamabad High Court has dismissed, with costs, writ petitions and appeals filed by LDI operators against the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and Government of Pakistan (Ministry of Information Technology & Telecom) on the issue of Payment of Access Promotion Contribution (APC) for the Universal Service Fund (USF) Regime. In the said Writ Petitions the LDI Operators had challenged the constitutionality and legality of the APC Regime as well as the Enforcement orders and Show Cause Notices issued by PTA.
The LDI operators in their petitions had prayed for a declaration to the effect that the Access Promotion Rules, 2004 issued by Government of Pakistan are ultra vires and that all the demands raised and money received by the Federation of Pakistan and PTA in respect of APC including APCL , APC for USF and Research and Development Fund were raised and being received without lawful authority and having no legal effect.
The Islamabad High Court, after hearing the arguments of both petitioners and respondents in detail, has declared that the points and issues raised in the petitions are not maintainable and accordingly dismissed the writ petitions, with cost.
The LDI Operators whose petitions and appeals have been dismissed through the said orders include Dancom, Wisecom,4B Gentle, Redone, World call, Wateen Telecom and Multinet. A huge amount of APC for USF was stuck up due to the stay orders obtained by these operators and pending litigation, which are now payable and PTA has issued necessary orders and instructions for recovery of these amounts in compliance of the court orders. PTA has also suspended the licenses of World Call, Multinet, Red Tone, Wise Com and 4B Gentle with immediate effect which were earlier stayed by Courts.
(Khurram A. Mehran)