Shortage of petroleum products annoys PM Imran Khan




BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

ISLAMABAD: On Tuesday, the Federal Cabinet took a number of important decisions on issues ranging from the recent shortage of petroleum products to the collapsed Karachi drainage system.

The Prime Minister, who presided over the cabinet meeting at the PM House, expressed his annoyance at the non-release of fees to the media houses, which had led to a delay in the payment of salaries to the staff of some TV channels and newspapers.

“In order to ascertain the cause of the recent shortage of petroleum products in the country, the cabinet has formed an inquiry commission,” Information Minister Shibli Faraz said at a press conference after the cabinet meeting.

Mr Faraz said the commission, headed by Federal Investigation Agency Director General Abu Bakar Khuda Baksh, would take action against those involved in the scam. Other members of the commission would be from the Intelligence Bureau, Inter-Services Intelligence, State Bank of Pakistan, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, Compe­tition Commission of Pakistan, Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan and Federal Board of Revenue.

The Commission will be empowered to hire market experts to consider decisions taken at monthly and quarterly product review meetings, to check import orders and to inspect stocks at various points of the supply chain.

In a related move, the petroleum division moved a summary reportedly to delay import of Euro-V (10ppm) diesel and petrol due to certain difficulties, including an estimated increase in prices.

“Earlier Euro-V standard was to be enforced from August 1 this year, but the cabinet decided to implement it from September 1,” Mr Faraz said.

According to media reports, a series of inquiry committees had been constituted to investigate the causes of the shortage, but most of them did not come up to the expectations of the prime minister, either because of conflict of interest, lack of evidence or non-cooperation by the stakeholders.

Talking to Dawn after the press conference, the information minister said he was not aware of any of these committees.

According to a statement issued by the PM Office, on several issues, Prime Minister Khan said Karachi’s problems could not be solved until the representatives of the elected government became politically, administratively and financially independent according to the spirit of the Constitution.

He said the federal government wanted implementation of Article 140A in its true spirit and directed the attorney general to request the Supreme Court to hear the petition submitted before it under Article 140A, which deals with local governments.

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