Pakistan News

Team formed to curb Iranian oil smuggling

Team formed to curb Iranian oil smuggling

KARACHI: The Karachi police on Tuesday joined hands with the customs department to keep a check on smuggled Iranian oil by carrying out raids on suspected fuel stations selling the illegal products and checking of vehicles entering the city from Balochistan, a top official said.

A meeting in this connection was held days after a letter from the services and general administration department (S&GAD) of the Balochistan government addressed to the establishment division blamed senior officers in the Balochistan police for facilitating smuggling of billions of rupees worth of petrol and diesel from Iran into the country.

The Karachi police chief, Mushtaq Mahar, agreed with the claim that some police officers within the city law enforcement agency were also facilitating the illegal trade, but expressed the resolve that the recent mechanism to check the smuggling would also identify them and lead to major cut in the unlawful business.

“We have set up a joint team with the customs department to execute the mechanism,” said the additional IG. “The plan to check selling of smuggled Iranian petrol is part of the National Action Plan (NAP) as it is believed that this ill-gotten money is used for terror financing. The coordination between the police and the customs will help curb the menace.”

The official added the meeting participants discussed at length the designing of a mechanism and it was decided that the DIG of administration on behalf of Karachi police would coordinate with the collector of preventive from the customs department, who would represent his institution, as a focal person for a joint strategy.

“There are a few routes like in Gadap and Mochko which are used for transportation of smuggled goods. We also need to check them,” said Mr Mahar. “Similarly, there are several points or fuel stations that sell this smuggled Iranian petrol and we have also decided to raid those petrol pumps with the customs officials.”

According to the recent letter from the services and general administration department (S&GAD) of the Balochistan government addressed to the establishment division, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ashfaq Anwar and his subordinates are facilitating oil smuggling from Iran to different cities of Pakistan and earning millions of rupees per month in the process.

The Balochistan government has asked the establishment division secretary to suspend the SSP and initiate departmental proceedings against him.

According to petroleum dealers, between 15-20 per cent of the total fuel consumed in Pakistan is being smuggled from Iran. The smuggled petrol and diesel are mostly used in Balochistan and some cities of Sindh, including Karachi.

The Karachi police officials’ meeting seemed to be linked with the same concerns raised by the Balochistan government.

“It’s true that some police officials also facilitate this illegal trade. But with this mechanism and coordination with the customs department we hope to identify them as well and the entire racket that is causing huge loss to the exchequer,” added the Karachi police chief.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2015

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