LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Wednesday sought report from the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) about oil price determination criteria/formula. Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial issued the order on a petition against increase in prices of petroleum products.

Advancing arguments, the petitioner’s lawyer Azhar Siddique said the excessive increase in petroleum prices was a fraud. He said the govt always increased the prices taking benefit of international market’s rates but never reduced them when the prices were trimmed down internationally. He said nobody knew under what policy or principle the govt fixed POL prices.

He pointed out that majority of the petrol pumps’ owners stopped the sale after Dr Asim Hussain, prime minister’s advisor on petroleum, hinted another price hike in a recent statement. He further said that different departments of the government were making profit in billions from petroleum products and also collecting taxes from the consumers. He said the consumers were being subjected to double taxing and exploitation.

The chief justice directed a deputy attorney general to ensure submission of the Ogra’s reply until March 28. 

NOTICE TO CENTRE: The LHC issued notice to federal government on another identical petition against inclusion of Bhakkar and Mianwali districts into new proposed province Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab (BJP). Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan issued this notice on a petition of a lawyers group from Bhakkar namely World Optimistic Lawyers Forum. Counsel for the petitioner submitted that people of the both districts did not want to be part of the new province.

At this the judge remarked that there was no question of life and liberty as people at both places would eat and live.

On other identical petitions pending before the court, the judge adjourned the hearing for Thursday on written request of Advocate Azhar Siddique who was busy before some other court. A group lawyers had challenged the formation of parliamentary commission and its recommendations for inclusion of Mianwali district into proposed BJP. The petitioners through Advocate Siddique had contended that neither the constitution nor rules of business allowed the national assembly speaker to form a commission on new provinces’ subject.

They said the Punjab assembly had passed two resolutions on the subject matter and demanded the restoration of Bahawalpur province instead of creation of new one. They said the incumbent rulers had no mandate for creation of a new provinces and such act would amount to upset administration system of whole country.

They said article 239 of the constitution empowered the parliament only to change geographical limits of the provinces.

The petitioners said people in Mianwali had been protesting against the recommendations of the ‘illegal’ parliamentary commission.

They said the situation might get worse if the recommendations of the commission were not suspended. The court will take up the matter today (Thursday).

REFERRED: The LHC referred the matter pertaining to dispute over holding 21st Punjab Cup 2013 to Punjab Sports Board secretary with direction to resolve the matter within three weeks. Justice Ijazul Ahsan passed the directions on the petition of Rashid Aziz.

The petitioner submitted that the Snooker and Billiard Association Punjab (SBAP) had announced a tournament, 21st Punjab Cup 2013, to be held on January 18 to January 31 in six districts including Lahore, Multan Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Sargodha and Rawalpindi.

He submitted the court had issued a stay order against the tournament, therefore it could not be held. He contended on February 9, the respondents again announced the tournament on February 11 for two days only in three districts including Rawalpindi, Multan and Sargodha through text messages without publishing any pamphlet.  He said the respondents announced the tournament for two days only to give benefit to few players. He added that if 400 players participate in this tournament then it was not possible that the tournament will be completed within two days.

He said by announcing the tournament through text messages, the respondents had violated the Sports Policy 2005.