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NAB should investigate the July 26 petrol price increase: commission

Report submitted in Lahore High Court

SAMAA | - Posted: Dec 14, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Dec 14, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 months ago
NAB should investigate the July 26 petrol price increase: commission

Photo: Online

The National Accountability Bureau should investigate the increase in petrol prices across Pakistan on July 26, the petrol price commission suggested in its report submitted to the Lahore High Court.

Abu Bakar Khuda Bakhsh, the commission’s head, appeared in court on Monday. He remarked that the energy ministry didn’t have the complete record on the price increase.

The commission didn’t have any tool through which it could decide who was responsible for the increase.

OGRA was handed over the oil sector in 2006. The policy on deciding prices needs to be revised. The stake holders know from before that there is going to be change in price, he said.

He even said that Pakistan has 66 oil marketing companies which it hasn’t been able to regularly. Their role in the price increase needs to be investigated too. The country was not able to take advantage of the fall in the prices in the international market, he said. In Pakistan, the price of diesel was increased by Rs32 and petrol’s by Rs26.

There is a company whose CEO was being investigated in an NAB inquiry and that company’s licence should be cancelled. The CEO has signed a Rs100 billion plea bargain.  

He even submitted the 156-page report to the court. According to it, oil worth Rs2.5 billion was smuggled through the Iranian border, adding that the authorities were able to recover only 20% of smuggled oil and not more.

The commission has made the following suggestions:

  • NAB should investigate the increase in price.
  • Rules for petrol prices should be made in six months.
  • Action should be taken against those responsible for the hike.
  • The monetary loss cause of the national exchequer because of the sudden increase in price should be recovered as soon as possible.
  • Measures need to be taken to stop the smuggling of oil.
  • Illegal petrol pumps should be closed.
  • Pipe lines should be installed for transfer of oil from Keamari to Port Qasim.

The court has summoned details of the stay orders issued by different courts.  

During the hearing, the decision to make the commission’s report public was discussed in detail.

Deputy Attorney General Asad Bajwa said that commission’s conducted an independent inquiry. The report will be made public after the cabinet’s approval.

A government’s lawyer said that the government has the right to keep the report 30 days after its meeting.  

On this, Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan asked if they plan on keeping the report in the microwave for 30 days.  

The report will be made public under the Commission of Inquiries Act, even if the cabinet says that it should not be made public, the judge remarked.  

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