Pakistan appoints new Telecom Minister

Islamabad:Zaheeruddin Babar Awan appointed to vacant Ministry of Information Technology role.

Pakistan’s vacant telecom and IT minister post was filled last week when Dr. Zaheeruddin Babar Awan was appointed to the position, according to local news reports.

Awan will carry out the role in addition to his existing duties as head of Pakistan’s law ministry, Pro Pakistani reported, citing unnamed sources. Awan’s details have since appeared on the Ministry of Information Technology’s (MOIT’s) Website.

He effectively replaces Sardar Assef Ahmed, who was appointed IT and telecoms minister in December last year, but then lost his post when the Pakistani cabinet was revamped in February; the telecoms post has been vacant since.

According to Pro Pakistani, the MOIT has been without either a minister or a secretary almost constantly for the past three years.

The appointment of Awan comes at a particularly important time, since the country’s universal service fund, designed to extend telecoms services to remote and potentially unprofitable areas, is soon to restart operations after an 11-month hiatus, the news service said.

The report also highlighted the dispute between high-ranking officials at regulatory body the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) as another issue for the new minister to solve.

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