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May 17, 2019

Gas supply scheme: Verdict reserved in petition on non-release of funds


May 17, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday reserved verdict in a writ petition filed against the non-release of funds by the government for a gas supply scheme in Mardan.

The petition was filed by Jamshid Mohmand, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Member Provincial Assembly form PK-55 Mardan, against the government for stopping funds from a developmental scheme of gas provision to the constituency due to political rivalry.

Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth was on the bench which heard the petition. “To stop funds to a continued scheme is nothing but politics. Public welfare schemes should not be wasted in the name of politics,” the chief justice remarked.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted before the bench that the then prime minister in 2017 had approved the gas supply scheme for the people of the constituency.

He said the government later released funds to Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) for completion of the scheme.

In 2018 general election, he said, Ali Muhammad Khan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidate was elected as MNA from the same constituency.

The petitioner was elected as MPA from PK-55, while loss National Assembly election to the PTI MNA, who was now, inducted as federal minister in the cabinet.

The counsel informed the bench that the PTI federal minister, being a political rival of the petitioner, had stopped funds for the scheme.

He alleged that the federal minister was pressurising the SNGPL officials for not completing the scheme.

The company had already distributed pipelines in 76 kilometres and which would suffer damage if the funds were not released for the project.

The chief justice asked from the additional attorney general of Pakistan, representing the federal government, as to why the government had stopped funds to the public welfare scheme.

The chief justice observed that the public was bearing the brunt of political rivalry and the government should not do politics with the public welfare schemes.

The additional attorney general said the funds allocated for the project had lapsed and had been placed before the cabinet for reuse.

However, counsel for the petitioner submitted that under the law the fund is deposited in the assignment account and that discrimination was being done with the petitioner only on the basis of political rivalry.

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