High court moved against gas outages

PESHAWAR: A lawyer moved the Peshawar High Court on Monday against the outages of natural gas in parts of the provincial capital.

In the petition, Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel requested the court to declare the gas denial to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, especially Peshawar, illegal and unconstitutional and order the immediate restoration of uninterrupted gas supply.

He said KP produced more natural gas than its requirement and that under Article 158 of the Constitution, its needs should to be met before the gas was supplied to other provinces.

The petitioner requested the court to declare the non-supply of natural gas and its loadshedding in the province illegal and against Article 158 of the Constitution.

He also sought orders for the respondents, including federal government, to immediately restore uninterrupted gas supply to the province in accordance with Article 158 of the Constitution with domestic consumers getting the first preference.

The petitioner said he had filed a writ petition with the high court against the loadshedding of natural gas last year but it had been pending since then.

He requested the court to fix that petition for early hearing.

The petitioner said Article 158 of the Constitution declared that the province, in which a well-head of natural gas was situated, would have precedence over other parts of the country in meeting requirements from there.

He pointed out that a petition was filed by the residents of Jhagra area against the Peshawar Electric Supply Company for subjecting them to the prolonged power outages and the high court had decided it on Aug 19, 2020, ruling that the right to life included access to electric supply.

The petitioner said the access of natural gas was also the right to life and therefore, it was mandatory for the government to supply gas to the residents.

He said the respondents in the case, including Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited, were depriving the province of natural gas, which was supplied to domestic consumers only for few hours, which was too insufficient to meet their needs.

The petitioner claimed that there were no gas and electric supply in parts of the province and children and elderly people suffered from multiple diseases due to the extreme cold weather.

He said after he filed the main petition with the high court last year, the respondents feared an adverse action by the high court, so it improved the supply of natural gas to the provincial capital.

The petitioner, however, said since that petition had so far not been decided, the respondents had resorted to the excessive outages of natural gas to the misery of the people.

The respondents in the petition are the energy and power ministry through its secretary, KP government through its chief secretary, and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited through its chief executive.

The petitioner regretted that the provincial government and the lawmakers elected by the people didn’t raise voice about the discrimination against the province over gas supply.

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