Response of secretary, SNGPL officials to contempt plea sought

Updated January 17, 2020

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The petitioner’s counsel absented himself from the hearing due to the lawyers’ strike prompting a representative of the petitioner, Hamid Safi, to show up. — APP/File
The petitioner’s counsel absented himself from the hearing due to the lawyers’ strike prompting a representative of the petitioner, Hamid Safi, to show up. — APP/File

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has directed the federal petroleum and natural resources secretary and two officials of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited to respond to a contempt petition filed by a PML-N MPA against the non-completion of a natural gas supply project in his provincial assembly constituency, PK-55 Mardan.

A bench consisting of Justice Qaiser Rashid and Justice Mohammad Naeem Anwar fixed Feb 6 for next hearing of the petition filed by MPA Jamshed Khan Mohmand who contended that in violation of the court’s order issued on May 16, the government had not been completing the said project.

The bench ordered the respondents, including the petroleum secretary, SNGPL general manager (sales) and regional general manager, to respond to the petition before the next hearing and show cause why they should not be proceeded against for committing contempt of the court.

The petitioner’s counsel absented himself from the hearing due to the lawyers’ strike prompting a representative of the petitioner, Hamid Safi, to show up.

PML-N MPA claims gas project not completed despite court order

He claimed that the project in question was of public importance and the respondents had left it incomplete.

The lawyer said digging was carried out in different areas without laying gas pipelines.

The petitioner said the court had issued directives to the federal government to arrange funds within a month for completion of the natural gas supply project to the constituency PK-55 Mardan but despite the passage of over five months, the said order had not been complied with.

He said the petitioner belonged to the opposition PML-N, so the PTI government had stopped funds for the project.

The petitioner insisted that the high court in its judgment had issued direction to the secretary of the ministry of energy (petroleum division) to ensure the provision of funds to the SNGPL within a month.

He said the constituency included various localities and villages of Mardan, which were deprived of the basic facility of natural gas though the adjoining and nearby constituencies had it for a long time.

The petitioner said in a public meeting, the former adviser to the prime minister on natural resources, Engineer Amir Muqam, had announced gas supply to the constituency and that the former prime minister had granted consent for it on Sept 7, 2016.

He said on Jul 20, 2017, the necessary sanction for the release of funds to SNGPL during the financial year 2017-2018 for gas supply to various localities and villages was issued, while Rs142.88 million as technical supplementary grant was released to SNGPL.

The petitioner said until June 30, 2018, the government was bound to complete the entire infrastructure for gas supply to the constituency but that didn’t happen and the government stopped progress on the project.

Few weeks ago, the petitioner also filed an application with the court seeking the inclusion of minister of state for parliamentary affairs Ali Mohammad Khan and general manager (HR) of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) Lahore, Shamsul Arifeen, as respondents in the contempt petition.

He claimed that on the insistence of minister Ali Mohammad, the SNGPL had transferred several officers implementing the court’s order for gas supply to the constituency. The application has been pending with the court.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2020