ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court, suspending the Peshawar High Court order on Friday, allowed the federal government to present the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) shares for auction, but stopped it from selling them till the final decision of the court.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Gulzar Ahmed, heard the federation’s appeal against the PHC decision of banning auction of OGDCL shares.

The attorney general, representing the federation, prayed to the court to allow the federal government to sell the shares of OGDCL. Attorney General Salman Butt argued that the privatisation of OGDCL was in the national interest.

The apex court decided that the OGDCL shares could be presented for auction, but they could not be sold till the final verdict.

The government had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the decision of the Peshawar High Court that had stopped the government from privatising 10 percent shares of the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL).

The government had requested the apex court to vacate the stay issued by the Peshawar High Court in the OGDCL privatisation which had been challenged by the PTI-led Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government.

A two-member bench of Peshawar High Court, comprising Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Musarrat Hilali, on October 3, 2014, issued the stay order. The decision came at a time when the government had initiated the process of privatisation of OGDCL.

The PML-N government had estimated to generate $850 million from the privatisation of the 10 percent of the OGDCL, 7.5% to foreign and 2.5% to local investors. The process of OGDCL privatisation had already been delayed due to the sit-ins of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT). The case was adjourned till October 13.