ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday reserved its verdict in a petition of an oil marketing company (OMC) against the newly formed fuel crisis committee.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition challenging the fuel crisis committee and the ongoing crackdown against the OMCs allegedly responsible for a recent fuel crisis and reserved the judgment after hearing the arguments of all the parties.

During the hearing, the IHC Chief Justice remarked that the government has only ordered action against mafias and hoarders and the oil companies should not be worried about the investigation if they have not done anything wrong.

A lawyer representing an oil company said that they are being called ‘mafia’ by the government. To this, Justice Athar said that they can then just tell the government to call you by a different name.

The petitioner’s counsel prayed to the court to set aside the Ministry of Petroleum’s June 8 and 9 notifications announcing tough government action against all OMCs for creating artificial shortage of petroleum products in the country.

He also requested the high court to stop the government from taking any action against the company till final adjudication of the case.

The petitioner’s counsel informed the court that the federal minister constituted this committee on June 8 for the action against hoarding of petrol. He adopted that under the OGRA Ordinance, the federal minister could not constitute such a committee.

He continued that OGRA is a regulatory body and it could take action as per the prescribed procedure in this matter. He added that FIA was included in the committee to harass the OMCs and it is also illegal. Similarly, he also opposed the inclusion of PSO in the committee saying that its presence in the committee is equal to conflict of interest. In the petition, the OMC requested the court to set aside the Ministry of Petroleum’s June 8 and 9 notifications, announcing governmental actions against the OMCs. The petitioner also prayed the court to stop the government from taking any action against the company until the court decides the petition.

According to the OMC, the committee on June 12 summoned the chief executive officer of the company and levelled the “baseless” allegation of hoarding and black-marketing against the company.

The OMC made the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), the Pakistan State Oil (PSO), the Ministry of Petroleum, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the committee as respondents.