Authorities seal 192 illegal pumps selling smuggled petroleum products

Authorities seal 192 illegal pumps selling smuggled petroleum products

ISLAMABAD: The customs authorities, in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, have sealed approximately 192 illegal fuel stations selling smuggled petroleum products, the federal cabinet was informed on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the federal cabinet meeting, where members were briefed on measures to curb the smuggling of petroleum products in the country. The cabinet was informed that the illegal smuggling of oil results in an annual loss of Rs 180 billion to the exchequer, in addition to causing environmental pollution and damaging vehicle engines.

The crackdown by customs authorities, initiated to tackle this issue, has so far resulted in the closure of 192 fuel stations. The federal cabinet discussed various agenda items, including development projects and other critical issues, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.

In the meeting, the Federal Cabinet approved amendments to relevant laws to enhance the powers of the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP), aiming to ensure greater transparency. Briefing the media, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz stated that the amendment would extend the AGP’s purview to autonomous bodies, which currently have their accounts audited by private firms.

Faraz explained that some audit paragraphs concern procedural issues, which can create unnecessary sensationalism when reported. The functioning of the AGPR (Accountant General Pakistan Revenues) will be digitalized and automated to increase transparency and reduce human involvement.

The PTI government is committed to institutional reforms, as promised in its manifesto, and plans to share details with the public soon. Many institutions currently follow outdated methods, compromising efficiency, transparency, and accountability. Dr. Ishrat Hussain, PM’s Adviser on Institutional Reforms, informed the meeting that over 100 federal government institutions had been merged or abolished to reduce the burden on the exchequer. Additionally, about 71,000 posts from grade 1 to 16, which remained vacant for over a year, will be abolished.

The federal cabinet also addressed the Broadsheet scandal, forming an inter-ministerial committee to disclose the individuals involved. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and others influenced the inquiry, and the current government under PM Imran Khan has decided to make the names public after thorough scrutiny.

Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed strong displeasure over the police shooting of youth Osama Satti. Minister for Planning Asad Umar raised the issue, noting that while the Joint Investigation Committee had presented its report, a new probe would be arranged if Satti’s family is dissatisfied with the findings.

The federal cabinet discussed legal measures to prevent future shortages of edible commodities, approved extending the FIA Commercial Bank Circle’s jurisdiction, and proposed changes to ex-officio directors in public sector companies under the Petroleum Division. Furthermore, the cabinet approved the election of National Medical Council members, the appointment of an administrator, and a new law to end the reuse of syringes across the country.