Pakistani telecom blues

Himalayan News Service

Islamabad, June 12:

Pakistani army and paramilitary forces have taken control of the country’s elecommunications facilities in the country to forestall protests against their privatisation. “We have deployed troops, paramilitary Rangers and police at 150 PTCL (Pakistan Telecommunications Company Ltd) installations,” Inter-Services Public Relations chief Maj Gen Shaukat Sultan said. Personnel from the army’s Signal Corps would now man telephone exchanges in place of PTCL personnel. “The assistance is being provided to run communication and protect sensitive

installations” at the request of the communications ministry, Sultan said, “This is a transitory step to run the communications uninterrupted. I have not heard of any resistance from anyone

against this move.” Talks between the government and PTCL on privatisation hit a roadblock this month after the unions threatened to go on strike.