LAHORE – The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday issued notices to the federal government and Ogra (Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority) on a plea challenging the fresh increase in prices of petroleum products.

Judicial Activism Panel’s chairman Muhammad Azhar Siddique advocate had challenged the new increased prices of POL products saying the increase was a fraud, as the petroleum prices in international market had decreased and Ogra without any notification had increased the prices.

The lawyer argued that the increase would push the inflation to new heights creating a crisis in the country, where people were already suffering due to price-hike. He requested to take immediate notice of increase in the prices and declare these actions as illegal. After hearing initial arguments, the court sought replies from the respondents by September 27.

GOVT REQUEST TURNED DOWN: The LHC on Wednesday turned down the Punjab government’ application seeking withdrawal of a stay order issued against opening bids for purchase of 1,200 Euro-II compliant diesel buses.

A law officer represented the government and argued that the fuel (Euro II compliant diesel) was easily available in Pakistan and there was not deficiency of the said fuel as alleged by the petitioner.

He said due to the stay order issued by the court, the government would not be able to purchase/import buses for Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS). The law officer requested the court to vacate the stay order so that import of buses could be possible in time.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan, however, dismissed the plea and summoned representative of diesel companies on Sept 17 along with a report about the availability of the required fuel for the said buses.

The judge on September 3 restrained the Punjab government from opening the bids for purchase of 1,200 diesel buses.

The stay was issued on petition moved on behalf of M/s Gujranwala City Tours (pvt). Petitioner counsel Taffazul H Rizvi challenged the process of bids called by the provincial government.

He said the government wanted to purchase 1,200 Euro-II complaint diesel buses, which would be given to operators on soft term loan basis. He submitted that Euro-II compliant diesel was not available in Punjab.