LHC Suspends Govt Move to Bring Regulatory Bodies Under Ministries

This past Tuesday the Lahore High Court (LHC) deferred the order from the government compelling the five main regulatory bodies to place themselves under the authority of the appropriate ministries.

This move has been taken after the Prime Minister went against the consensus of the provinces with notable opposition from Sindh and KPK provincial governments, and decided to transfer administrative power to the respective ministries and thus compromising their comparative independence. This was a major policy change.

The five bodies were Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), National Electric Power Authority (NEPRA), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), and Frequency Allocation Board.

However, the Lahore High Court suspended the notification seeking a petition submitted by advocate Zaka Sheraz who argued that the placement of the bodies under respective ministries was in fact violation of law that reads that it has to be passed through Council of Common Interest (CCI) before this policy decision could be made.

The government argued that it had approval of the federal cabinet, to which Zaka expressed his thoughts that the cabinet doesn’t hold any authority to grant any such approval and that parliament’s approval was required for this sort of merger.

Furthermore, the K-P government was more concerned since the province earns most of its revenue from the Tarbela Dam. This is separate from the other smaller or medium-scaled hydroelectric power projects the government is planning for in areas not connected to the Tarbela Dam.

But the reason the government gave for this policy and power shift was the fact that two of these regulatory bodies had been resisting orders from the relevant overhead ministries that would be beneficial to the public, specifically issues relating to tariffs.

The major federal ministries of power, water, and petroleum had complained to the government about these problems which resulted in this move.

Via Pakistan Today

  • I believe and am convinced that Regulatory Bodies should work independently without any influence from Government and Political Sectors. Criteria for nomination/selection of the members should be purely based on merit in a transparent manner. This will not only enable these bodies to positively contribute in respective sectors, it will create a better image of Pakistan in world.
    Let us hope decision makers at Governement level realize this “need” and try to reverse thier decision using court activity as some kind of face saving measure.

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