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IHC annuls govt decision to suspend gas supply to CNG outlets

07 February, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday set aside the decision of the federal government to suspend gas supply to compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in the Potohar region for an indefinite period.

A single-member bench of Justice Shoukat Aziz Siddiqui announced the decision and directed the government to supply natural gas to CNG stations in the region, including the twin cities, three days a week.

The court also accepted all the pleas of petitioners and declared the decision of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) void, observing that the ECC had no authority to decide the fate of CNG sector.

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet under the chairmanship of former federal finance minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh had approved the gas load management plan in which least priority was given to the CNG sector.

The court also ordered the government to take up the issue of CNG supply in the Council of Common Interests (CCI) within 90 days, "which is the appropriate forum to decide the matter".

In December 2013, the government suspended gas supply to the CNG stations in the Potohar region for three months, which was challenged in the IHC by owners of 77 CNG filling stations.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court on Monday also dismissed the plea of a private restaurant seeking direction to bar the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration from prohibiting the business of sheesha.

A single-member bench of Justice Shoukat Aiziz Siddiqui conducted the proceedings of the plea filed by the owner of a private restaurant through his counsel Sardar Abdu Raziq against the Islamabad assistant commissioner.

During the course of hearing, the counsel for petitioner apprised the bench that the Islamabad assistant commissioner was harassing and conducting raids on the restaurant of his client due to which the business was affecting badly.

To this, Assistant Commissioner Maryam Khan told the bench that smoking was prohibited at public places under the law and the administration was making efforts to ensure sheesha-smoking-free capital.

She said that the raids were being carried out to stop sheesha smoking at restaurants and other public places in the capital.

In response, Sardar Raziq, counsel for the petitioner, said that according to the law, there was no restriction to run the business of sheesha smoking at restaurants or hotels.

To this, Justice Siddiui asked the petitioner's counsel to produce the licence of running a sheesha parlour if the activity was allowed.

However, the petitioner failed to substantiate his arguments.

After hearing the arguments, the judge dismissed the plea and observed that there was no such law that permits the petitioner to run sheesha smoking business in Islamabad.


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