ISLAMABAD: The Chairperson, Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), Rahat Kaunain Hassan, has welcomed the appointment of Members of Competition Appellate Tribunal (CAT) and extended felicitation to the Government of Pakistan upon achieving this milestone.
Justice (Rtd) Faqir Muhammad Khokhar, former judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan, was earlier appointed as Chairman of CAT. However, the appointment of Technical Members of CAT had been pending for some time. The Technical Members appointed by the Government include Mr. Khalid A. Mirza, former Chairman of CCP and Mr. Muhammad Arshad Tabrez, former judge of Islamabad High Court.
The Chairperson said that CCP’s continued advocacy initiatives have yielded a positive outcome and with the establishment of the much awaited CAT, the appellate procedures under the CCP Act will now be further streamlined. The establishment of CAT was also assured by the Government at the highest level in the recently held International Conference on “Competition Enforcement Challenges & Consumer Welfare in Developing Countries” in December, 2011.
With the establishment of CAT, the second major challenge that CCP faced at the time of her assumption of charge as Chairperson in July 2010 seem to have been resolved. The first was the enactment of the law that took place in October 2010 (after the lapse of the Ordinance on August 14, 2010 and for almost two months of suspension of the said law soon after her appointment) this indeed, was a milestone achievement for CCP and was a result of hard work and dedication invested by the team at the Commission.
The second challenge pertains to the legal battles that await us in the courts, with the appointment and constitution of CAT; she said that CCP now looks forward to greater and effective implementation of the law for the overall and greater benefit of the economy, the business community as well the multi-layered genre of consumers across the country. It was also stated that the overwhelming burden of cases pending in various courts is also expected to be eased with CAT coming into operation. This will surely help in clearing the backlog of cases critical to the national economy. She further stated that, the fact that CAT comprises of professionals possessing distinguished credentials needs to be duly appreciated.
She expressed hope that just as the support has come from the Government in redressing, the above two challenges, Government will also extend full support in enabling CCP attain financial autonomy through recovery of 3% of fee and charges levied by the five regulatory bodies that form contribution to the CCP Fund. This she stated, is the most critical of all challenges faced by CCP and is most vital to ensure its financial autonomy. While CCP has made some progress even in this regard; in getting commitments assurance from the Government at the highest level, the recovery aspect, she added is still outstanding. We need a firmer push to secure deposit of the fee, as this has direct impact on our sustainability.