LAHORE - The Lahore High Court yesterday suspended notification regarding recent 14 percent increase in gas tariff and sought reply from Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra).

A lawyer-petitioner Shahid Ikram filed the petition and pointed out that the increase in the gas tariff was a burden on the general public. He stated that Ogra did not meet legal requirements before issuing the impugned notification.

The petitioner said that the law required the Ogra violated a mandatory public hearing before increasing the tariff. He said the act of the authority was unlawful and liable to be set aside. The court will resume hearing on Nov 30.

Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court yesterday sought replies from Punjab government and others in a petition challenging non-presentation of audit reports of district governments of the province before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Opposition leader in Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed filed petition through his counsel Advocate Sheraz Zaka and pointed out that audit reports of district governments of the Punjab had never been presented to the PAC nor laid before the house.

The petitioner said Auditor General of Pakistan wrote a letter to Governor of Punjab On Sept 7, 2012 and reminded him to fulfill his statutory obligations by placing audit reports of district governments before the committee of the Punjab Assembly as well as before the house. The same letter was also forwarded to chief minister, he added.

The counsel further pointed that the office of the auditor general also wrote to secretary of finance on June 4, 2014 to present the audit reports on the accounts of the district governments for the financial years 2001-2002 to 2012-2013 before the PAC.

He said the PAC was told at a meeting on Sept 15, 2015 that the audit reports of the district governments had been received from governor and submitted to the chief minister but the reports had not been placed before the committee so far.

Advocate Zaka said section 108 of Punjab Local Government Act, 2013 says the audit reports of the auditor general shall be considered by the PAC. He said the PAC was the main instrument of parliamentary system and its strengthening was vital to ensure accountability of public funds and good governance, which would eventually eliminate corruption from the public sector.

The counsel prayed to the court to direct the respondents to place the audit reports of the District Governments 2001-2002 to 2014-2015 before the Public Accounts Committee as well as Punjab Assembly.

After hearing initial arguments, Justice Shahid Waheed issued notices to all respondents including Auditor General of Pakistan, Chief Minister of Punjab and Ministry of Law and Parliamentary Affairs.

The hearing adjourned for the period of one month.