Lahore   -    PTI leader Jehangir Khan Tareen on Wednesday withdrawn a petition he filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC) in 2017 against the last PML-N-led government’s decision to transfer the control of five regulatory bodies to their respective ministries.

After withdrawal of one of the two petitions filed against a federal government’s notification transferring control of five regulatory bodies to their respective ministries, the Lahore High Court (LHC) remarked on Wednesday that the matter was of public importance and the court will take up the issue even during court holidays on July 4.

On February 21, 2017, then chief justice of Lahore High Court Syed Mansoor Ali Shah had suspended a notification issued by the last federal government transferring the administrative control of five regulatory bodies to their respective ministries. The notification was suspended by the chief justice in two identical petitions filed by then Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf secretary general Jahangir Tareen and a citizen Irfan Ali.

However, the PTI leader has withdrawn his petition filed against the notification placing the control of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) and the Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) under the control of their respective ministries.

A counsel representing Jehangir told the court that his client did not want to pursue his petition anymore against the incumbent government, and sought court’s permission to withdraw the same. The counsel said that his client did not want to pursue the case as he was not part of the incumbent government.

However, representing the other petitioner namely Irfan Ali, Sheraz Zaka advocate argued that Nepra, PPRA and Ogra could not be placed under the control of their respective ministries without approval of the cabinet.

He argued that such a decision would jeopardise their autonomy. He said that under the law it was mandatory for the federal government to seek permission from the CCI before transferring control of autonomous regulatory bodies to their respective ministries. He quoted various judgements of the apex court declaring an approval from the CCI mandatory for the purpose.

Likewise, the counsel argued, placing the PTA and the FAB under the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom’s control, the PPRA under the Ministry of Finance and the Ogra under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources’ control was a case involving conflict of interests.

Allowing withdrawal of the petition, Justice Shujat Ali Khan observed that the matter was of public importance and sought instructions from the federal government whether it intended to place the autonomous bodies under the control of their ministries.

The court also observed that the matter was of public importance and the court will hear other petition even during holidays on July 4.

The judge directed the deputy attorney general to seek instructions from secretary establishment whether the notification was withdrawn or the present prime minister also wanted to pursue the similar policy of last PML-N-led government who had issued the notification. The court also observed that no more adjournment will be given.

While suspending the notification then LHC chief justice had observed that the prime minister should have sought permission from the Council of Common Interests (CCI) before issuing the notification.