I have come to know that smuggling of petrol and diesel from Iran is increasing. According to one estimate, 20% of the diesel used in Pakistan is smuggled from Iran. It can well be imagined how much the Government of Pakistan is losing in sales tax, levies and custom duties every year because of this practice. I am sure the losses run into billions of rupees.
Availability of cheap fuel from smuggled sources also hurts Pakistan’s oil sellers as well as the refineries. Smuggled Iranian diesel is of low quality and that is why it is cheap. It has high percentage of sulphur and other additives. When it is smuggled into Pakistan, it pollutes the underground tanks of the fuel pumps when it mixes with better quality local fuel. The dealers are attracted by the low-priced Iranian fuel so they prefer to buy it and do not buy from local refineries. Smuggled fuel has even forced a major OMC to close many of its pumps in Balochistan where this low-quality fuel was commonly available.
The roots of fuel smuggling between the borders of Balochistan and Iran can be traced to the poor socio-economic conditions existing in Pakistan’s most backward province. If these conditions can be improved and the people of Balochistan are given the opportunity to earn a respectable livelihood in their own province, smuggling will be discouraged. I think the government should pay urgent attention to this factor.
Muhammad Rohail Hassan