Prime Minister’s Office said on Friday that over 600 petrol pumps have been sealed and about 4.5 million litres of petrol and diesel seized under the federal government’s campaign against oil smugglers across Pakistan.
It said the steps have been taken on directives issued by Prime Minister Imran Khan. “The campaign against oil smuggling, led by Ministry of Interior, is continuing unabated and showing significantly good results.”
The PMO said if sealed pumps fail to furnish valid documentation within seven days, they will be confiscated by the State under the Customs Act along with owners’ properties as it “would be deemed that these properties were acquired with smuggling proceeds”.
Earlier this month, the premier approved an action plan against 2,094 illegal petrol retail outlets in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. And FIR would be lodged against the owner and proceedings for the forfeiture of oil station and other properties of the owner in favour of the federal government will be initiated.
The operation is being led by the Customs Department at the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
In December 2020, an inquiry commission on the shortage of petroleum products confirmed smuggling of Iranian oil and estimated it at about Rs250 billion.
The report recommended that all illegal outlets must immediately be shut down while simultaneously initiating action not only against their owners but also against those who allowed them to prosper. In the same vein, the practice of unlawful regularisation of retail outlets built in violation of rules must be put to an end. No one knows the exact number of retail outlets operating in Pakistan be it MoEPD, department of explosives or Ogra.
With the help of the district administration, the MoEPD, department of explosives and a representative of the OMCs, the exact number should be reconciled. Standard operating procedures should be developed so that this data is updated every month. The exact number and OMC-wise location of such retail outlets would thus be known to all concerned.