The Supreme Court of Pakistan.—AFP Photo

ISLAMABAD: Hearing the case pertaining to petroleum prices on Wednesday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said that the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) was responsible for a loss of 83 billion rupees to the national exchequer, DawnNews reported.

The chief justice said that Ogra was not protecting the interests of the consumers rather it was safeguarding interests of the license holding companies.

Chief Justice Iftikhar remarked that “if Ogra was not performing its duties, it would be better to shut it down.”

Adding to that, he said that if the interests of the consumers were not taken into consideration, the court would take strict action.

Secretary Petroleum Waqar Masood told the apex court that in light of the country's petroleum policy, petroleum prices were linked to the price of the US dollar.

The chief justice moreover inquired “under which law the weekly petroleum price adjustment mechanism was introduced”.

Chairman Ogra Saeed Ahmed Khan  told the court that the Ogra was not in favour of the mechanism. Chief Justice Iftikhar said “then Ogra should not issue the weekly notification of prices.”

Secretary petroleum said compared to the previous governments, the present government was more considerate of the poor and the underprivileged. The chief justice said “if that is the case then why were petroleum prices increased every week?”

Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja remarked that Ogra's role and authority was well-defined but the organisation was operating as if it was working under the government. He further said that the government could not do anything without Ogra's approval.

Chairman Ogra said according to the Section 7, Ogra had the mandate to determine petroleum prices only twice a year.

The chief justice inquired how cost auditing could be made possible under the weekly price adjustment mechanism.


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