LHC seeks reply from federal govt, OGRA


The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday sought a reply from the federal government and the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) on a writ petition challenging the recent increase in gas prices under Article 199 of the constitution.
Mian Asad Muhammad advocate contended that OGRA had increased the gas prices in January and February, in violation of the basic human rights. He submitted that the people were already suffering from the inflation and the increase in gas prices would further disturb the routine life of poor families. He said that Rs70 billion had been embezzled in OGRA and the burden had been shifted to the consumers. He prayed to suspend the notification issued for the increase in the price of gas.
He also sought directions to the federal government to sack Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain for mishandling the shortage of gas, causing the countrywide uproar.
After initial arguments, Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood Khan directed OGRA to submit a reply till February 6 and issued notices to the federal government for February 12.
Hajj Policy: LHC Chief Justice Azmat Saeed on Friday directed the federal secretary of religious affairs to file a reply within 7 days on a petition seeking formulation of transparent Hajj Policy 2012 without further delay and allocation of quota to tour operators on basis of equal distribution. The petition was filed by Muhammad Azhar Siddique advocate, under the Article 19-A, for making the Hajj Policy 2012 transparent, allocation of quota to tour operators on equal distribution method, lowering the cost of Hajj and seeking details of money amassed by the Ministry of Religious Affairs in facilitating Hajj.
During the hearing, the LHC CJ remarked that article 19-A provides fundamental rights of access to information and sought reply from the religious affairs secretary till of February 10.
The petitioner said that the Ministry of Religious Affairs had looted Rs 80 million from the pilgrims last year, in the name of accommodation, fake insurance and other charges, while the audit of the amount collected from pilgrims was never done fairly.