The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) has said privatization of national institutions was a government-related issue and the court would not intervene in the matter.
This was stated by a three-member bench of SC headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Jawad S Khawaja and Justice Gulzar Ahmed during hearing of the LPG quota case on Monday.
The court said that after 9/11 incident, multi-national companies invested in various sectors but Pakistan was adversely affected due to menace of terrorism.
The court was informed about the alleged corruption in LPG quota award. Defendant lawyer Khawaja Tariq Rahim informed the bench that nine companies participated in the pre-qualification for LPG quota and after consultation, the board of directors of Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) decided to award the contract to JJVL and the said company had paid royalty of Rs 16 billion until it was awarded the contract.
The chief justice asked the lawyer that when JJVL was the only qualifier, why was legal procedure not followed and the quota granted by bypassing rules and regulations.
Khawaja Tariq Rahim said the contract was not awarded immediately but took about two years for consultation and later it was granted to JJVL as 300 to 400 tons of LPG was being wasted daily.
He said if the royalty was in accordance with the desires of the company, it would have to pay only Rs 9 million, but it had so far paid Rs 16 billion.
The lawyer said the government had contacted various companies for privatization of SSGCL. The court remarked that the issue was related with the government and court could not interfere.
Justice Jawad S Khawaja said the contract was signed after consensus between the JJVL and SSGCL, therefore, it would have to be implemented accordingly.
Irfan Tariq, lawyer for the opponent company, said the petitioner had tried to pressurise the court, upon which Justice Khawaja remarked that the court was impartial and it was not just to say that someone could exert pressure on court for seeking decision in his favour.
He said it was not a judge’s job to look into such cases and it should be taken to an appropriate forum for resolution.
Rahim said the federal minister for water and power was responsible for dealing with such cases, but if he remained present in the SC for the purpose, the performance of his ministry would be adversely affected.
The court adjourned the hearing of the case until October 22.