Friday Jan 15, 2021
Over 600 petrol stations 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, the Prime MInister's Office said on Friday.
The steps have been taken on directives issued by Prime Minister Imran Khan, it added. "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, PM Imran Khan approved a comprehensive action plan against 2,094 illegal petrol retail outlets in three provinces, Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
According to Dawn.com, the operation is being led by the Customs Department at the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). Under the crackdown, an 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 move came days after an inquiry commission on the shortage of petroleum products confirmed smuggling of Iranian oil and estimated it at about Rs250 billion.
According to a report in The News, the government must sensitise the concerned agency to take strict measures at the Pak-Iran border to curb this huge evasion of tax revenue.
It 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.