KARACHI: The interests of several influential quarters including the oil marketing companies (OMCs) are likely to be hit, as the Pakistan Customs initiates crackdown/operation against the sale of diesel/petrol smuggled from Iran.
The crackdown/operation against the retail sale through nozzle-pumps and otherwise is initiated from the early hours of Sunday, November 24, 2013, which is a joint initiative of local government, Sindh Police and Pakistan Rangers.
According to details, in the first phase, the operation would be focused on northern Bypass, which is the largest retail market of smuggled Irani diesel/petrol and scores of road side stalls are selling the commodity through nozzle-pumps. Later, other pockets in Karachi would be targeted.
“The diesel/petrol smuggled from Iran is obviously cheaper than that being sold legitimately as no duty/taxes are paid on the smuggled commodity,” an official said.
The official said that over 50 launches having the capacity of transporting an average 4,000 liters of petrol/diesel anchored the deserted docks of Pakistan, which served as havens for smugglers. The commodity is transported into the country through the tankers owned by the same contractors/transporters that transport the fuel for OMCs in the country.
It was also known that certain quarter in Customs, law enforcement agencies, government and oil marketing companies (OMCs) were patronizing the smuggling, as it involved big money hence big ‘cuts’.
It is pertinent to mention here that earlier, the Iranian diesel/petrol was identifiable through simple lab tests because of the difference in the composition and refining details. But now the refineries in Iran had been upgraded to produce the quality and grade being produced and consumed in Pakistan.
This development has made the job quite easy for the vested interests as no lab test can prove the commodity to be Iranian.
Official sources said that apart from the nozzle-pump sale of smuggled diesel/petrol, oil marketing companies (OMCs) in nexus with their transporter contractors, were carrying this smuggled commodity and supplying the same at fuel stations in the southern Pakistan causing huge revenue loss to the national kitty.
The official referred to several instances when these tankers were arrested for transporting smuggled fuel, but the OMCs came to their rescue claiming the diesel/petrol to be supplied by them for onward transportation.
Since, the diesel/petrol produced in Iran is of similar grade and details as produced in Pakistan, the culprits go free.
It is pertinent to mention here that other than 3 big firms, 8 small OMCs are operating in Pakistan including Attock Petroleum (APL), Total Parco (TPPL), Admore, Hascol, ASKAR, Overseas Oil Trading (OOTCL), BYCO and Bakri Trading (BTCPL).