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IHC restores three-day CNG supply in Pindi/ Islamabad region

24 December, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) here on Monday, in its detailed restraining judgment, restored three days of CNG supply in the Rawalpindi/Islamabad regions.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC on December 20, through a short order, had stayed the three months complete closure of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in the twin cities and Rawalpindi/Islamabad region.

In the detailed judgment, Justice Siddiqui noted that "prima facie, contentions of the learned counsel are not only reasonable but supported by the fact that in all the provinces, CNG stations are allowed to operate at least for three days in a week. Previous order through which all the CNG stations of Islamabad and Rawalpindi regions were allowed to operate for three days in a week shall continue to hold its field and fresh order imposing complete ban on supply on CNG shall remain suspended till final decision of the writ petition."

The IHC bench issued the above said restraining order after 77 CNG stations owners had challenged the government's decision to completely close the CNG supply for three months from November this year to January next year.It was on November last month when the government had decided to disconnect gas supply to transport and industrial sectors in the Punjab, including the capital.

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

Advocate Afzal told the court 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 the complete stoppage was unfair to the business community and employees of CNG sector. He further told the court that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government is providing CNG to its province, but the federal government had stopped the supply in Punjab and Islamabad.

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

End.

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