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Court suspends CNG ban; asks govt to restore previous schedule

21 December, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday granted a stay order against the three-month complete closure of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in the twin cities and Potohar region.

An IHC bench issued this order after 77 CNG station owners challenged the government's decision to completely close the CNG supply for three monthsfrom November this year to January next year.

The court has directed the government to restore the previous schedule of two-day CNG supply.It was in November when the government decided to suspend gas supply to transport and industrial sectors in the Punjab including the federal capital.

Legal counsel for the CNG station owners, Malik Qamar Afzal, advocate, argued before the court that the government had not issued any formal notification and unilaterally suspended the supply of gas. He further told the court that the Council of Common Interests (CCI) had yet not approved the decision and the summary was still pending before the prime minister.

He told the court that the CNG station owners had already been under severe financial crunch and the three-month gas closure had worsened their problems. It had just become impossible for them to keep up with their expenses and salaries of the staff. Closure of CNG sector, for the whole three months, is tantamount to creating unemployment in the country.

Advocate Afzal contended that previously the government had allowed the CNG sector to remain open for three days in a week. Later, they decreased it to two days. But a complete stoppage was unfair to the business community and employees of the CNG sector. He further said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government was providing CNG to in its province but the federal government had stopped the supply in Punjab and Islamabad.

The petitioner's counsel prayed to the court to declare the government decision as unlawful. The IHC bench, while issuing stay orders, issued notices to the Federation, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL), CCI and Cabinet Division.The court adjourned the matter till the second week of February.

End.

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