ISLAMABAD - The sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources on Thursday called taking strict action against those involved in gas theft.

The sub-committee, which met under the chair of Senator Abdul Nabi Bangash, discussed several issues. The committee came down hard on the officials of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources and district authorities for their absence from the meeting. The committee expressed its resentment that the summoned officers did not attend the meeting and instead sent their junior officers before the committee.

Convener of the sub-committee Senator Abdul Nabi Bangash said that officers concerned should have been here so that the responsibility could be owned. He also criticized the Federal and State Ministers for Petroleum for not attending the committee meeting today (Thursday) and the meeting held previously. He remarked that the committee would entertain no excuses, as it is not about two to three senators, adding that the matters are of the concerns to the whole parliament.

The meeting discussed in details the progress of E&P companies for the social uplift of the people of Kohat Division. The senators expressed their dissatisfaction over incorporating the local population in the development work. Representatives of MOL Pakistan told the committee that oil digging continues in the division but the company faces threats and hence cannot work properly. MPA from Kohat proposed to the committee that instead of hiring retired army and police personnel, young people from the local population should be included. Senator Usman Saifullah Khan favoured it. 

Senator Abdul Nabi Bangash emphasized the importance of local population and said that priority should be given to the people in those areas wherein oil is being produced. He further said constitution does not allow the authorities to give gas supply to everywhere in Pakistan and neglect the areas in which it is produced.

The sub-committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources criticized the SNGPL and OGDCL for not taking efficient measure to ensure that gas is supplied to Kohat division. He also highlighted the issue of provision of gas to Thall and surrounding areas. Senator Abdul Nabi Bangash said that former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had approved the scheme besides issuance if several directives in this regard, however, no gas has been provided so far. Article 158 of the constitution provides that priority must be given to the gas producing areas over the other parts of the country. He added that incumbent government is reluctant to release funds for the said schemes.

The committee also discussed the issues of establishment of an oil refinery. ThecCommittee also showed dissatisfaction over the figures of LPG production in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa provided by MOL and OGDCL. The committee chairman said that the figures provided contradict with what was shared in last meeting.

Senator Abdul Nabi Bangash also asked the concerned authorities about the exact figures of the gas theft cases in Karak and Kohat. He called for zero tolerance and strict action against those involved in gas theft.