Nov 26, 2019, 3:28 PM
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Pakistani top court voices concern over delay in IP

Islamabad, Nov 26, IRNA -- Supreme Court of Pakistan voicing concerns over delay in Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project has asked the federal government to apprise it whether they are serious in completing the project, local media reported.

A three-judge bench of the court headed by Justice Mushir Alam was hearing federal government’s application regarding the Gas Development Infrastructure Cess case.

The court asked whether parliament had ever been taken into confidence about monetary collection under the Gas Development Infrastructure Cess (GIDC) 2015 levy for the development of the infrastructure of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) pipeline project.

The court directed the government to furnish a report before the court within a week regarding the IP project.

Justice Faisal Arab during the hearing remarked whether the government was serious in completing the IP project.  

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah observed that the government should tell the court when the IP project would be completed.  

He further remarked that earlier the government had said that GIDC was a tax and now they say it is fee, but whether any ground work is going on regarding the project or the government is just collecting the money.

Additional Attorney General (AAG) Chaudhry Aamir Rehman said that international projects cannot be completed overnight while the IP is also facing some international problems.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah to which said, if this is the matter then why no report regarding the IP had been presented before the parliament for the past eight years.

Justice Mushir Alam observed that according to the reports of the government it seems that the project is still facing some issues.

Justice Faisal Arab in his remarks said that it is strange that the government has not been able to complete the IP gas pipeline in past eight years.

Additional Attorney General requested the court to keep in view the situation that had arisen in tribal and other areas. Still, the court observed that it was the right of the people to ask about the utility of the money they have been paying since 2011.

Meanwhile senior counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan, who is also representing a number of CNG stations, in the case stated that the GIDC levy was neither a tax nor a fee but in fact a penalty imposed upon the citizens.

Pakistan and Iran signed the agreement in 2009 and the project had to be completed by December 2014. It had the capacity to provide 750 MMCFD of gas.

The IP gas pipeline is considered to be the easiest and most feasible route for importing natural gas to Pakistan.

The groundbreaking of the pipeline project was performed in March 2013. While Iran has since then laid its side of the pipeline, Pakistan is yet to begin work on its side.

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