MIRANSHAH: Due to failure of the Pakistan Telecommunication Limited (PTCL) to ensure presence of its technical staff to repair faulty telephone lines, the demand for Afghan cellular phone services has increased in North Waziristan and is causing loss to the public exchequer, official sources told The News on Sunday.
Officials in Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan, said they had informed senior government functionaries time and again about the growing demand for Afghan cellular services in the volatile tribal region, but they did not take any step towards this end. “We cannot criticize the tribal people for availing the Afghan cellular phone services. They need to remain in touch with their near and dear ones in the country or overseas and if we cannot provide them this basic facility they would find other means,” a senior government official said.
Pleading anonymity, he said the tribal people preferred the cellular phone services launched by an Indian telecom company in Afghanistan as calling India was free.
Meanwhile, hundreds of tribesmen, shopkeepers and students on Sunday staged protest in Dattakhel tehsil of North Waziristan against failure of the PTCL authorities to repair their telephone lines that went out of order three years ago after damage caused to the main cable during some construction work by the security forces three years ago.
They said that only one PTCL watchman was performing duty at the so-called Dattakhel telephone exchange and charging Rs300 for the repair of a faulty line.The government had established 10 telephone exchanges in NWA in Mir Ali, Spinwam, Eedak, Tapi, Spalga, Razmak, Dattakhel, Land Mohammadkhel and Miranshah but most of the phone lines in these exchanges had stopped functioning due to technical fault and non-availability of the PTCL staff to carry out repairs.