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IHC voids govt’s decision to shut gas supply in Potohar region

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday declared the three-month closure of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations in the Potohar region as void and while announcing its verdict directed the station owners to resume the sale of CNG three days a week.

Islamabad High Court Judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui while condemning the decision given earlier by the Economic Coordination Council (ECC) regarding closure of the gas filling stations accepted the 77 applications submitted by the CNG station owners.

The CNG station owners stated in their applications that the CNG stations had already been under severe financial crunch and the three months gas closure had worsen their problems. It was impossible for them to meet their expenses and pay salaries to the staff.

The applications further mentioned that the closure of the gas supply to the CNG sector for the three months would create unemployment.

The decision announced Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui said that the gas stations of the twin-cities, Islamabad and Rawalpindi would remain open three days a week and the issue regarding the closure of stations would be taken to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) within 90 days. The court has accepted all the pleas of the CNG stations owners.

The court said that the ECC forum was wrongly used for tasking decision on the closure of the gas to CNG stations in Pothohar Region. The court said that matter should be presented in CCI within 90 days for approval. The court said that it was the responsibility of the government to provide gas to a sector which was established with the cost of billions of rupees. The court said that there is fear of loss of billions of rupees in the result of the decision of the government.

The government on December 2 stopped the supply of gas to the CNG stations in the Potohar region for three months citing shortage due to the cold weather.

Earlier, IHC justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqi had reserved the decision over CNG closure.

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