IHC to hear Pemra chief, CNG cases today
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) today will take up two major petitions including dismissal of Chairman PEMRA and restoration of CNG supply to the stations of Potohar region.
The first important petition is related to the removal of Chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Chaudhary Rashid Ahmad who also moved a contempt of court petition against Secretary Establishment Division (ED), Secretary Information and newly government appointed acting chairman PEMRA for not implementing the court orders.
In this connection, the Supreme Court had already dismissed the government’s petition against the order of Islamabad High Court (IHC), which had reinstated Rashid Ahmad as Chairman PEMRA.
A two-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Nasirul Mulk and Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan disposed of the petition and ruled that let the IHC decide the instant matter pending with it.
“We cannot make any observation at this stage and we would also refrain from passing any comment as the instant matter is pending with Islamabad High Court,” Justice Mulk ruled while disposing of the government petition. It is pertinent to mention here that the government had sacked Rashid Ahmad as Chairman PEMRA and Rao Tehseen Ali Khan was given the charge to look after the affairs of the authority.
Chaudhry Rashid Ahmed, however, challenged his removal in Islamabad High Court, which on December 16 declared the notification of his sacking null and void and restored him to his position till disposal of his petition.
Meanwhile, Chaudhry had also filed a contempt of court case in Islamabad High Court which is still pending before the court. Earlier, Justice Riaz Ahmad Khan had expressed his annoyance over non-implementation of court’s stay order by the Secretary Establishment Division and Secretary Ministry of Information and Broadcasting after IHC had restored PEMRA Chairman Chaudhary Rashid Ahmad on December 16.
During the hearing, Secretary Establishment and Secretary Information along with government appointed acting PEMRA chairman Rao Tehsin Ali Khan had appeared before the court in response to a contempt of court petition moved by Rashid Ahmed.
In his contempt petition, Chairman PEMRA Chaudhry Rashid had alleged that Rao Tehsin who was appointed by the federal government as new PEMRA chief, in connivance with Secretary Information and Secretary Establishment has been creating hurdles in the implementation of restraining orders issued by a single bench of IHC that had temporarily restored him to his slot. Chaudhry Rashid informed the court that when he proceeded to his office at PEMRA headquarter Islamabad on December 17, he started receiving threats from some miscreants and Rao Tehsin had instigated PEMRA employees who blocked his entry into the office and took law into their hands.
Similarly, a single bench of IHC comprising Justice Noor-ul-Haq N Qureshi will resume the hearing of an Intra Court Appeal (ICA) moved by the federal government and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) on Tuesday against the stay order, which enabled the owners of CNG stations to operate their business.
However, the SNGPL had refused to allow CNG station owners to resume their business on Tuesday and Wednesday as it had challenged the stay order and asked them to wait for the verdict.
As a result, the owners again approached the court on Tuesday with a contempt petition against the gas pipelines, which will be taken up by the court today.
The govt had stopped the gas supply to the CNG stations for three months on December 2. But, some 77 CNG dealers obtained the stay from the IHC on December 20 against this decision of the SNGPL. Against this stay, the Ministry of Petroleum and the SNGPL had filed the petition before IHC Justice Noor-ul-Haq N. Qureshi. In the petition they contended that acute gas shortage had forced them to suspend gas supply to the CNG sector for three months.
Therefore, Justice Qureshi issued notices to the owners of CNG stations and deferred the hearing till December 26 for further proceedings.