Jamshoro firm given eight weeks to clear SSGC liability

Updated November 17, 2018

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Advocate Raheem sought three month time for the payment of the admitted liability. However, the chief justice gave him eight weeks for the purpose.— Photo courtesy: ag.com.pk
Advocate Raheem sought three month time for the payment of the admitted liability. However, the chief justice gave him eight weeks for the purpose.— Photo courtesy: ag.com.pk

LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Friday ordered Iqbal Z. Ahmad to pay Rs1.5 billion to the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) as admitted liability on his Jamshoro Joint Venture Limited (JJVL) — a private-sector gas processing plant.

A two-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, also directed Advocate Khwaja Tariq Rahim, the counsel for Mr Ahmad, to sit with the SSGC officials and come up with a proposal to settle disputed liability of Rs1.8bn on the gas processing plant.

Earlier, the counsel requested the court to allow functioning of the plant as it had been causing a great loss to the nation. He pointed out that over 72,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) had been imported by Pakistan after the closure of the JJVL.

However, Chief Justice Nisar asked the counsel to pay the liability of the SSGC, which was also the nation’s money, if he wanted to get the gas supply to the plant resumed. “We are not going to pass any order against the interest of public,” said the chief justice.

Referring to the era of former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf, the chief justice said there was a time when Mr Ahmad used to rule but now there was only the rule of law.

Mr Ahmad was also present in the courtroom.

“Ask your client to pay the nation’s money and we allow you to start the plant,” the chief justice gave an offer to the counsel.

The chief justice also reminded Mr Ahmad that he had been earning billions of rupees through stay orders obtained from the Sindh High Court years ago. He said record of all those cases was being summoned by the Supreme Court for decision.

A representative of a charted accountancy firm presented details of the liabilities of the JJVL to be paid to the SSGC.

Advocate Raheem sought three month time for the payment of the admitted liability.

However, the chief justice gave him eight weeks for the purpose.

Chief Justice Nisar told the counsel that the court could run the gas plant on its own through a receiver, if it felt it necessary for the interest of public, in case his client failed to clear the liability.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2018