LAHORE - The Lahore High Court (LHC) Thursday said it appeared that Special Assistant to PM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar was in control of the affairs of the petroleum ministry and therefore was responsible for the recent fuel crisis. The remarks were made by the LHC Chief Justice Mohammad Qasim

 Khan during the hearing of a case related to a petition filed against the shortage of fuel supply across the country last month

During the hearing, the minutes of a recent cabinet meeting on the petrol crisis were presented. To that, the court said that cabinet members decide upon matters in agreement and it did not include decisions from the prime minister or the concerned minister.

“It appears whoever took the meeting minutes, did so to appease the prime minister… the meeting minutes were prepared under the PM’s name, what does a mistake of this magnitude mean?” the chief justice remarked

Justice Qasim addressed concerns that the government was being run by non-elected people.“Whoever is elected has to go to the people — may he be a minster,” said the judge, adding that, in contrast, non-elected people were not liable to the people.

The chief justice objected that during the proceedings, the special assistant did not inform that petrol supply was scarce; instead, he justified the shortage on the basis of increased demand.

“As per the meeting minutes it appeared that the blame lies with the petroleum industry,” he said. The judge said that the ministry was trying to shift the blame to Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA).

“Either the petroleum ministry or OGRA did not do their job or both of them didn’t do their jobs,” noted the judge.

The LHC top judge then remarked that it appeared that the SAPM on petroleum was running the entire ministry and he could be held responsible for the fuel crisis.

The judge gave six weeks time to the federal government for formation of a commission to probe the recent petrol crisis and to submit a report in this regard.

Attorney General for Pakistan, Khalid Javed Khan, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) chairperson  and Chief Secretary Punjab appeared before the court at the start of the proceedings.

OGRA Chairperson Uzma Adil apprised the court that she was retiring today (Friday) and submitted that the court could summon former OGRA chairman to know the facts.

The Chief Justice ordered provision of a copy of the meeting’s minutes to petitioner’s counsel and amicus curiae also.

The Attorney General sought eight weeks time for formation of a commission to probe the recent petrol crisis and submission of report. However, the court allowed just six weeks time to the federal government for the purpose and adjourned further hearing.