KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Friday issued a show-cause notice to the director of the Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan (HDIP) for failing to appear in court, asking him to appear on April 9 along with complete record of permissions granted for use of CNG kits in vehicles.

When a set of petitions about use of substandard CNG and LPG kits and cylinders in vehicles as well as school vans came up for hearing before a two-judge SHC bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, the director of the HDIP was called absent despite clear directions issued in the last hearing.

The transport secretary, who was in attendance, submitted that he had written a letter to the director HDIP asking for the data regarding the number of vehicles inspected and permitted to use CNG. However, he said the response was awaited.

The bench says it will issue an arrest warrant against HDIP director if found absent on April 9

The bench observed that since petitioners’ lawyers highlighted various accidents due to faulty CNG kits, the main issue was primarily related to the functions of the HDIP, specifically what preventive and safety measures were being taken before granting permission to use CNG in vehicles.

Issuing a show-cause notice, the bench directed the director HDIP to appear in person in the next hearing without fail and warned that otherwise his arrest warrant would be issued.

The court also asked him to bring complete data of the permissions issued after inspection of vehicles.

In the last hearing, the transport secretary had submitted that the basic responsibility vested in the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority and the HDIP was working under its control and supervision. They were responsible to the check the quality of CNG kits and cylinders and their office was also located in the city.

Muzammil Mumtaz, Tariq Mansoor and others had moved the SHC submitting that a rickshaw driver was forced to commit suicide as money was extorted from him at least three times by the traffic police, which they said were engaged in demanding bribes from rickshaw drivers and motorbike riders on main roads, and on refusal they imposed undue fines on them.

The petitioners maintained that the substandard CNG cylinders were being used in public transport as well as in school vans despite the directions of the court and no action was being taken against such vehicles.

Impleading the home secretary, transport secretary, DIG traffic, Ogra and others as respondents, they asked the court to direct them to take action against traffic police engaged in demanding bribes and to restrain public transport vehicles and school vans from using substandard CNG cylinders and overloading.

SC seeks report on vacant anti-narcotics court

The Supreme Court on Friday expressed resentment over an inordinate delay in the trial of a drug case and sought a report from the registrar of the Sindh High Court about non-appointment of a judge in an anti-narcotics court.

A two-judge bench of the apex court headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed also sought comments from the director general of the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) within two weeks.

The bench issued these directives during the hearing of the bail application of Fazal Moula. His lawyer Shaukat Hayat submitted that the accused was arrested in June 2014 after alleged recovery of over 250kg of hashish in a truck in Korangi.

He argued that not a single witness had been examined so far, adding that the trial court was also lying vacant.

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2019