Dawn News

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday issued directives to maintain the current prices of CNG until Nov 19, the date for the next hearing of the CNG and petroleum products price case, DawnNews reported.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry stated that the court had not conducted an assessment of CNG prices and had left the matter to the Oil & Gas Regulation Authority (Ogra).

Ogra moreover presented a formula for CNG pricing during the hearing. Ogra recommended ending the operating costs in order to collect Rs 5.75 towards production costs.

Ogra also proposed lowering the CNG station owners’ profits per kilogram from Rs 11.20 to Rs 2.95.

The chief justice also took notice of a statement by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain the Advisor Petroleum.

In a television interview, Dr Asim had said that a mafia was hindering the resolution of the petrol price case.

The chief justice expressed his displeasure at the statement and said there was no concept of mafia in the court. The mafia mentioned by Dr Asim was a big challenge as well as a surprise to the court, he added.

The chief justice said the court had not conducted an assessment of CNG prices and had left the matter to Ogra, adding that, if anyone had any objections, they could contact the Supreme Court’s registrar.

During the hearing, Justice Jawad S. Khawaja remarked that the CNG Association was a cartel and it appeared as if it had been formed by the government. He added that the actual price of CNG was far less than it was at present.

Justice Khawaja added that it was Ogra’s duty to protect the rights of the consumers.

The court moreover accepted the applications filed by the CNG Association and station owners to become parties in the case.

The counsel for the CNG Association, Hafiz Pirzada requested the court to allow him two weeks' time to submit a comprehensive response.

The chief justice said that the court would like the government to do its work and assert its authority. However, it could not implement unnecessary taxes.

The court adjourned the next hearing until Nov 19 and issued directives to maintain the current CNG prices until the next hearing.

Previously, the Supreme Court had ordered that CNG prices be decreased by Rs 30 over the Eidul Azha holidays as an “Eid gift” to the consumers.

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