The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday maintained the old price of compressed natural gas (CNG) and directed the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to come up with a new policy till December 5 for adjusting its price by involving all the stakeholders.

The three-member bench of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed resumed hearing of a plea moved by PML-N leader Iqbal Zafar Jhagra clubbed with a report submitted by Justice (retd) Rana Bhagwandas over CNG and petroleum prices.

During the hearing, the Chief Justice remarked that the OGRA granted licences to the CNG station owners and also determined CNG price which was unprecedented.

He said that the adjustment of CNG prices was the duty of OGRA and not of the Supreme Court. The law demands levying taxes on the CNG, he added.  

He noted that the government cancelled illegal and unauthorized licences of the CNG stations and this action reduced the CNG prices.

Earlier during the proceedings, OGRA Chairman Saeed Ahmad submitted an audit report of the CNG stations that suggested the CNG price at Rs 74 per Kg.

OGRA's counsel Salman Akram Raja said that after the cancellation of memorandum of understanding between CNG station owners and OGRA, no policy existed now regarding fixation of CNG prices. The OGRA issues licences for CNG stations on fulfillment of its requirements, he added.

He said that most of the CNG licences were issued during 2004-05, while none had been granted after 2008. 

He said that the OGRA was conducting a detailed survey of CNG stations for introducing an appropriate policy to adjust CNG prices.

The counsel for Iqbal Zafar Jhagra apprised the court that the OGRA set the CNG price, which was not reasonable, while the CNG stations had already been overcharging.

Abdul Hafiz Pirzada, counsel for the CNG Association, pleaded that the CNG station owners had to bear 90 per cent burden of the reduction in CNG prices. They are forced to continue their business despite incurring loss, he added.

The bench adjourned the further hearing of the case till December 5.