Islamabad: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said an influential mafia has embezzled billions by misusing petroleum freight subsidy. The inland shipment subsidy is offered to ensure uninterrupted supply and keep prices of the petroleum products stable in the remote areas but a gang is misusing it since a decade, it said.
Some influential politicians, oil marketing companies (OMCs), officials of petroleum ministry, OGRA and carriage contractors are said to be involved, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW. He said that following deregulation in Musharraf’s era, dozens of OMCs cropped up, some on papers only.
These companies, hand in glove with some elements, started loading petroleum products from Rawalpindi and Mahmood Kot, Multan for Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) but would unload it locally to charge fare from the government. Later, the OMCs with the help of an influential group of GB, established dozens of petrol pumps in Gilgit-Baltistan for sole purpose of filing fake delivery orders to get fare without selling a drop of petrol or diesel.
Presently, many petrol pumps selling 40-50 thousand litres of petroleum products in Gilgit-Baltistan would show sale of 4-5 lakh litre depriving government of billions of rupees, he said. Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that a proper system to check sale of OMCs, audit of filling stations and physical verification is yet to be in place transforming Gilgit-Baltistan into a goldmine for oil mafia.
He said that presently an oil tanker charge Rs 750,00 fare for Gilgit while the cost escalates to Rs 100 thousand for Skardu and Hunza. It takes five days for a carriage vehicle to deliver petroleum products in Gilgit and come back but the tankers of the mafia are paid fare for 4-5 trips in a calendar week which is amazing.
PSO has established a depot in Gilgit-Baltistan but other OMCs were never asked to conduct business through that facility. Rather direct sales were preferred due to obvious reasons, he said. He also criticized PSO, the biggest national retailer, to remain mum over the issue despite knowing all the details.
Dr. Mughal has demanded of the Chief Justice Pakistan and other officials to take note of the plunder, stop malpractices and ensure recovery of looted wealth. Pakistan Economy Watch