LAHORE - The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday suspended the notification of petroleum levy amounting to Rs 3,500 per tonne imposed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources on local LPG producers.

Four LPG marketing companies had moved the court against the implementation of the levy imposed on local production to increase its price and facilitate imports.

They submitted that petroleum ministry had issued a notification imposing a levy on LPG on February 1. Resultantly, the prices of LPG for domestic consumers and transporters had been increased due to which they were facing many problems, the petitioners pointed out.

They submitted further that local production accounts for 80 per cent of the country’s consumption and was being discriminated against through this levy from which imports were exempt. They said the court had already stopped Ogra from imposing levies and taxes on LPG in some other pending cases.

They requested the court to suspend the impugned notification.

Justice Ayesha A Malik recorded arguments and suspended the petroleum levy.

The court also sought replies from petroleum ministry by February 28.

Belal Jabbar, the spokesman for the LPG Association of Pakistan, talking to media outside court premises said this was third time that the petroleum levy had been suspended by the Lahore High Court since 2011.

“LPG prices are expected to rationalise over the coming days following suspension of the notification of petroleum levy,” said Belal.

Also, the LHC sought arguments on maintainability of a petition seeking ban on politicians disqualified by the country’s judiciary on dual nationality.  Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh asked the petitioner-lawyer Muhammad Afaq Advocate to advance arguments on February 19.

The petitioner had also requested the court to cancel registration of the political parties being led by dual nationals.

The lawyer also submitted that Tahirul Qadri was heading the Pakistan Awami Tehreek in Pakistan and held nationality of Canada too. He said as the person having nationality of another country is loyal to the other country and his loyalties for Pakistan become suspicious therefore he cannot be allowed to head a political party which can become into rule by taking part in election.

He said Tahirul Qadri was one of such heads of the parties and the election commission should cancel registration of his party and put ban on his participation in election.

The petitioner also prayed the court to stop Imran Khan from joining Qadri and in case he makes coalition with him, registration of PTI with the election commission should also be cancelled.

BAILS EXTENDED: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday sought arguments on bail applications moved by former minister Ghulam Sarwar and officials of Punjab Board of Technical Education (PBTE) in a bogus degree case registered with Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE).

Justice Shahid Hameed Dar directed the counsel of bother parties to come up on February 20 for arguments on the bail applications.

When the court resumed hearing on Tuesday, prosecution’s law officer requested the court to cancel the bail applications and allow police to arrest the accused persons as allegations of obtaining the fake degree had been proved. However, former minister’s counsel denied the allegations by submitting the case was registered on political grounds. The court heard arguments and extended the interim bails until February 20.

The ACE had registered a case after detail investigation against former minister, former chairman of PBTE, its secretary and two other officials for issuing the duplicate diploma unlawfully.

PLEA AGAINST UJALA PROGRAMME DISMISSED: The LHC dismissed a petition challenging Ujala Programme initiated by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Shairf to facilitate low income people with Solar Home Solution (SHS) systems against electricity loadshedding.

Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood Khan dismissed the petition for being non maintainable.

During the hearing, the judge remarked that there were two months in holding the election and the people should decide the fate of the political parties through their votes. He said the people would vote for the party which was taking steps for the welfare of the people.

The petitioner had submitted that the Punjab government had started the SHS system in order to give benefit to certain groups of society on political basis while no long term steps were being taken to curb loadshedding for all residents of the province.

It was discrimination by the Punjab government to give benefit to selected people of the province and ignore others who were also suffering due to acute electricity shortage, the petitioner added.

He said the government was using the SHS system to get votes in upcoming general elections while the project was also a violation of fundamental rights.

He said billions of rupees were being spent on certain people and it was tantamount to increase additional burden provincial exchequer.

He requested the court to immediately stop the project and put ban on it permanently.

REPORT SOUGHT: The Lahore High Court sought reports from sessions judges of Sialkot and Sheikhupura districts about murder of minor girl and rape of a woman.

In a circular issued by complaint cell of the LHC, the court sought reports from sessions judges taking notice of the two press clippings published in national dallies.

The sessions judges have been directed to submit the reports with in one week after looking into the both incidents.