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CJP annoyed over blame game between institutions

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KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Saqib Nisar on Friday expressed annoyance at what he called the persistent “blame game” between institutions in taking accountability for surging petroleum prices.

The chief justice was hearing a case relating to petroleum prices and imposition of additional taxes at the Supreme Court Karachi Registry.

Managing Director of Pakistan State Oil (PSO), who appeared before the court, told the bench that 22 companies, including PSO, were buyers of petroleum products. Every company put forward demand estimates for the next three months during a joint meeting, he informed the court.

Asked about the pricing mechanism, the MD told the court that average prices of petroleum products were determined by global oil prices.

The CJP, however, was not satisfied with the response and told the official that the court would verify the records listed in the report with the help of experts.

The public is fed up of the continuous increases in petroleum prices, the chief justice remarked, adding that the court will not spare anyone if any irregularity was found in the report.

Chief Justice Nisar, also expressing his annoyance at the failure of chairman of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to appear before the court, questioned who was responsible for making the pricing policies.

OGRA officials in presence, however, contended that the impression that the body was responsible for the policies was wrong.

The pricing mechanism for petroleum products is devised by the government, OGRA officials informed the bench.

To this, Chief Justice Nisar remarked that every institution appeared keen to pile blame on the other. He also appeared irked by the differences in commission rates set by dealers.
It looks as if this is all a monopoly by dealers and their institutions, the CJP observed. – NNI

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