SC questions hike in petroleum and CNG prices
19 October, 2012
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a copy of the decision of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), which allowed the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to fix the petroleum prices on weekly basis.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry, also questioned that how the ECC was fixing the compressed natural gas (CNG) prices because this matter might be considered by the provinces in the Council of Common Interests after the passage of 18th Amendment.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja noted that this was a very good opportunity to settle that who was empowered to fix the CNG prices after 18th Amendment, adding that the purpose of the court was only that the constitution should be adhered in letter and spirit.
He said that why the Balochistan government was unaware as this matter was directly beneficial for the people of Balochistan.
The court directed the Ministry of Petroleum and OGRA to explain the linkage between the increase in prices of CNG with the petroleum products and also submit the weekly price review of the petroleum products along with the component cost.
The secretary was ordered to also explain where the money earned through the Petroleum Product Levy (PDL) was being used. The court has sought the copies of agreements between oil companies and the Government of Pakistan about the supply of petroleum products.
During the hearing, Petroleum Secretary Waqar Masood appearing before three member bench told that federal government was fully implementing the recommendations of Justice (r) Bhagwandas about the fixation of petroleum prices and it would not be suitable to say that the government was increasing the CNG prices without reasons.
He told that ECC had given a new policy guideline to OGRA about the fixation of petroleum prices. In view of this policy, it has decided that CNG prices will be interlink with the petrol prices, secretary added.
Justice Khawaja also expressing concern asked the secretary that when the CNG was local product than why the government was interlinking its price with the petrol as 85 percent of this product was being imported. Referring to Article 3 of the constitution, he said that the state was bound to eliminate all forms of exploitation.
The CJP said that due to the increase in CNG price, ordinary citizen was suffering. "Why the ordinary citizen should be suffered on the losses either by the government or others", he further asked. The secretary claimed that the government was giving Rs 46 billion subsidy for the beneficial of domestic consumers as price for domestic gas was being reviewed after six months. Waqar Masood claimed that reviewing the petroleum prices on weekly basis was useful for the consumers.
About the arrest of Tauqir Sadiq, NAB was informed that Islamabad police inspector general was called in the headquarters for getting his assistance in this regard. He said that reference against the Sadiq would be filed today (Thursday).
Hearing of the case was adjourned until October 24.