KARACHI: There is a reason that the diesel smuggling to Punjab continues. The nitty-gritty in the laws and jurisdictions as well as patronage by influential circles has rendered Customs almost helpless against diesel smuggling.
The commodity is smuggled from Iran and dumped in Baluchistan at various spots. Its transportation to Punjab is conducted in a smart manner. A large quantity of vegetables and poultry is transported to Punjab. Trucks (Mazda) transporting vegetables and poultry to Punjab have fitted huge fuel tanks having a capacity of up to 2,000 litres. These tanks are fitted with fuel pumps and directly feed the engine. They also have a valid argument that a round from Baluchistan to Punjab and back needs significant quantity of fuel. Although, these vehicles consumes as much as 700 litres, the rest is dumped at various depos in Punjab.
Diesel is smuggled from the neighboring country through Irani-assembled pickups (Irani Datsun) which travel in mountain ranges and launches. Smugglers pay for the fuel in Pakistani rupees. The fruit/vegetables trucks pass through Koh-e-Suleman mountain range to entire Punjab via Dera Ghazi Khan. Enforcement agencies have no jurisdiction in Koh-e-Suleman. It is kind of the “Ilaqa Ghair”.
Even, such vehicles are caught as attempted by Collector Multan several times. It is all in-vain, because if the value of seized goods is less than Rs0.5 million and has no significant legal value. Nonetheless, district governments can take action against these depos in Punjab. But, there has been hardly any such word. Whenever Customs start action against these smuggled diesel transporting vehicles, the truckers block the national highway through D.G Khan. And then district administration steps in to end the blockade. It is reported that the Customs is often discouraged to crack-down these carriers on the pretext of law and order situation.
A mammoth quantity of smuggled Irani fuel finds its way into the markets of Baluchistan, Sindh and Punjab. It is a huge business, though illegal. Irani diesel, which is good in quality, costs Rs100 cheaper than the locally available fuel because of higher taxes and levies.
Sources said Afghan nationals Mulla Tahir and Rehmatullah their accomplice a Pakistani named Allah Wadeen are running these enterprise of smuggled fuel transportation to Punjab. These men reportedly have developed strong contacts with multiple law enforcement and security agencies paying them hefty sums every month. The smuggling of subsidized fuel from Iran to neighboring countries including Pakistan has been a longstanding issue due to the price differential between Iranian fuel prices and those in neighboring countries.
Iran has one of the lowest fuel prices in the world due to government subsidies, which has led to significant fuel smuggling across its borders. Smugglers purchase subsidized fuel from Iran and sell it in neighboring countries at much higher prices, making substantial profits.
The Iranian and Pakistani governments have taken measures to combat fuel smuggling, including increasing the price of subsidized fuel and cracking down on smuggling networks. However, these efforts have not been entirely successful.