SC orders for keeping CNG prices intact till Nov 19
Supreme Court (SC) has ordered for keeping the prices of CNG intact till next hearing on November, 19.
A 2-member SC bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry issued these orders during the course of hearing of petitions with respect to petroleum products prices here Thursday.
The court took notice of a statement from former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain and sought clarification from secretary petroleum in this respect. Dr Asim had given statement that petroleum mafia had deferred petroleum policy under the court’s orders.
Secretary petroleum told the court case regarding petroleum levy was pending hearing with Lahore High Court (LHC) and the court had issued stay order one year earlier.
CJP remarked the court was criticized under garb of petroleum policy. The concerned court be approached for early hearing, he added. Determining the prices is job of Ogra and not the court, he further remarked.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja observed OGRA function was not to play the role of a subservient. It seemed as if the government not only formed cartels but also they were favored. CNG Association is a cartel and government is inking agreements with it, he added.
The plea for becoming party in the case by CNG Association was accepted during the hearing. Hafiz Pirzada appeared on behalf of the association.
Abdul Hafiz prayed the court to allow him two weeks time to file comprehensive reply. The court remarked that it wanted government should work and assert its authority. Government can not slap those taxes for which no approval has been given to it and doing so is exploitation to some extent, court added.
People are agitating daily on the roads and if gas supply surpasses gas demand then why load shedding is being done, court inquired. CNG holiday is in place today as well in Karachi. The court be informed about all the details, court added.
CJP remarked petroleum ministry should take into account the basic constitutional rights. This matter involves rights and interest of million of people. Ogra has to satisfy the court now so that no exploitation of the consumers takes place.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja observed OGRA would have to comply with sections 7,8 and 9 of its law and tariff rules. OGRA has to play the role of watchdog for the rights of consumers. It is not role of OGRA to serve as subordinate to government. It seemed as if OGRA was not a watch dog but was a lap dog.
The court while adjourning the hearing of case till November, 19 ordered audit of CNG pricing be got conducted within 15 days and its prices be kept in tact till next hearing. —