ISLAMABAD - The Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan Wednesday claimed before a Senate committee that the government of Iran was involved in smuggling of oil from Iran to Pakistan through border areas of Balochistan.
The Senate standing committee on rules of procedures and privileges was also informed that ministry of interior had recently requested the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to withdraw special anti-smuggling powers given to FC Balochistan because of the security situation of the province.
The FC and other civil armed forces working under the administrative control of ministry of interior have special anti-smuggling powers delegated by FBR under the Customs Act.
The committee on rule of procedures that met under the chair of Tahir Mashhadi was seized with the matter of smuggling of oil and other petroleum products from Iran on a question raised by Talha Mahmood, a JUI-F lawmaker.
Lieutenant Colonel Naeem G-I (Plan) FC Balochistan in the meeting said, “It is out of question that oil from Iran was being smuggled without the permission of Iranian government.” Giving the reason, he said that every inch of Pak-Iran border was sealed either through ditch or wall and how oil could be smuggled without consent of Iranian authorities deputed on the other side of the border. Lt Colonel Naeem further said however the problem was that FC Balochistan was facing finical problems as the government during last financial year made a cut on its budget up to 30 per cent. He was of the view that FC could not fully guard the whole border due to financial constraints and there was a 70 per cent gap on the border from Pakistan side. “We establish check post on one side, the smugglers make their way from other side,” he said.
Member (Custom) FBR Nisar Muhammad Khan told the committee that the subject of smuggling comes under FBR. He said that FBR had delegated anti-smuggling powers to other government departments including civil armed forces working under the ministry of interior. “The ministry of interior on July 8 has written a letter that anti-smuggling powers should be withdrawn from FC Balochistan as it was not willing to have these powers due to security and law and order situation of the province,” he informed. He said that ministry wanted that these powers be kept intact with FC KP, Coastal Guards and other civil armed forces except FC Balochistan.
The committee on a request of Aitzaz Ahsan directed the FBR to answer the question in detail within fifteen days.
Senator Jaffer Iqbal raised a question that Iranian as well as adulterated oil was at sale in the South Punjab and other border areas of the country. He said that this practice should be checked. The member (customs) informed the committee that the custom had confiscated 2,100,000 litres of oil this year and efforts were being made to check smuggling as well as sale of adulterated oil. The committee referred this matter to the Senate standing committee on petroleum and natural resources.
On another privilege motion moved by Senator Abdul Rauf, the committee asked the Senate functional committee on human rights to hold a detailed inquiry of the presence of station commander cantonment area Karachi during an anti-encroachment campaign in his area.
Senator Mian Raza Rabbani and Afrasaib Khattak questioned the presence of station commander during an anti-encroachment drive, saying what was the need of his presence there. Rabbani said, “When it comes to cantonment areas, they demolish every thing either properties or lives during anti-encroachment drives.”