ISLAMABAD: Twenty-nine politicians are allegedly involved in smuggling of Iranian petroleum products, a report submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has revealed.
The report states that terrorists are using revenue generated from petrol smuggling as a key source of financing.
The report, incriminating politicians and government officials, revealed that 2.8 billion litres of petrol was smuggled annually to Pakistan from Iran.
The petrol smuggling costs Rs60 billion to Pakistan each year, it added. “A total of 995 petrol pumps across the country are involved in the illegal sale of Iranian petrol. Around 90 government officials and 29 politicians are involved in smuggling of petrol.”
However, a startling revelation made by the report is that Pakistan State Oil’s vehicles are involved in the transportation of Iranian petrol.
The report also addressed the issue of Hundi-Hawala (illegal money trade and smuggling), saying that 722 currency dealers are involved in the illegal forex activity.
In Punjab, 205 currency dealers, the highest among all the provinces, are involved in the illegal activity followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) with 183 dealers.
Meanwhile, Sindh, Balochistan, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) have 179, 104 and 37 such dealers, respectively.
In Islamabad, 17 dealers are involved in the Hawala-hundi business.
Meanwhile, Federal Interior Minister Senator Sarfraz Bugti said the people involved in smuggling US dollars and hoarding sugar and other edibles are more dangerous terrorists than the TTP.
He said the people involved in damaging Pakistan and causing security threat would be responded strongly by using all resources of the country.
“It does ntot matter who attacks us. For us, everyone is a terrorist who attacks us,” interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti told a press conference centred on the crackdown on smugglers and hoarders.
He said all the provincial governments and law enforcement agencies are ready to fight against Pakistan’s internal opponents. “Whoever attacked us, we will respond and our response will be seen, InshaAllah,” he cautioned.
Bugti was responding to a query pertaining to media reports, alleging that the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban had the support of Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province and that Afghan Taliban members were involved in the September 6 attack that was claimed by the TTP.
The interior minister said the government was utilising all resources to counter such anti-state activities.
“It is premature to say whether Afghans were part of it or just there were TTP members,” Bugti replied to the query and reminded that the incumbent government of Afghanistan has signed the Doha agreement under which they have vowed not to allow their soil to be used against any country.
The cross-border attack occurred on the day when Pakistan was celebrating its Defence and Martyrs Day. The military’s media wing statement issued on the day said that at least 12 terrorists were killed in the operation.
The interior minister said gas-rich Balochistan province shares a porous border with Iran and Afghanistan and has been the scene of a low-level insurgency by Baloch nationalists for around two decades. Pakistani security forces have been the main focus of separatist attacks, but in recent years they have also targeted Chinese interests, given Beijing’s increasing economic footprint in the region.
“Terrorists’ movement and concentration in Gawardesh, Pitigal, Barg-e-Matel and Batash areas of Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan had already been picked up and were timely shared with the Interim Afghan government,” said the Inter-Services Public Relations statement.
The media wing expressed hope that the interim Afghan government would deny the use of Afghan soil by terrorists for perpetrating acts of terrorism against Pakistan, the interior minister concluded.
Meanwhile, Sarfaraz Bugti said that it was their responsibility to recover six local footballers who were kidnapped a day earlier in Balochistan.
The footballers were kidnapped by unidentified armed men from the Sui Tehsil area in Dera Bugti district on Saturday, according to local media reports. The footballers, residents of Balochistan’s Sui and Dera Bugti areas, were going to Sibi to participate in the All-Pakistan Chief Minister Gold Cup football tournament.
“All resources will be utilised to recover the kidnapped persons,” Bugti was quoted as saying by Ministry of Interior on the social media platform X. The ministry added Bugti had issued directives to security institutions on Saturday to take steps to recover the footballers.
The statement added that the area in Sui Tehsil from where the footballers were kidnapped had been cordoned off on Saturday and an operation was underway to recover the victims. “Those spreading violence will not be able to escape the law,” Bugti was quoted as saying by the ministry. “The kidnapped are our children, I will not rest till they are recovered.”
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