STAFF REPORT LHR: Giving immediate relief to the overseas Pakistan on Eidul Azha, the Lahore High Court suspended the notification of the Ministry of Information Technology of imposing additional tax on the incoming international calls to the country.

Many of 6.5 million overseas Pakistanis were protesting against the imposition of tax, which is widely believed as an attempt to benefit a cartel of 14 Long Distance International (LDI) operators.

It is to be mentioned here that a Lahore-based Local Loop Operator (LLO) Brain Telecommunication Limited through a writ petition had challenged the additional tax on the incoming calls.

By revising the international call termination charges, the overseas Pakistanis were paying 3 to 4 times on an average more to call back home as foreign telecom operators had increased rates, he pointed out adding the Approved Settlement Rate (ASR) for international incoming calls was also notified by the PTA.

According to the agreement of ICH – a single technical exchange or gateway – the PTA was fixing the prices of per minute incoming calls from different foreign countries to Pakistan, while quota was also being distributed among the cartel of 14 LDIs, the counsel of the petitioner contended.

He argued that the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) had also issued a dissenting note to information technology ministry and the PTA, to withdraw its decision to establish an international clearing house exchange.

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