Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, the Chief Minister of Balochistan, has reportedly authorized the sale of Iranian petrol in Quetta and its surrounding areas. Upon learning about the ban, the CM instructed the Inspector General of Police to halt the crackdown operation, as mentioned in a media report.
The CM emphasized that the sale of Iranian petrol supports numerous families and their livelihoods. It is worth noting that the smuggling of Iranian petrol into Pakistan makes it an illegal activity.
The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) is responsible for regulating oil and gas prices in Pakistan. Bizenjo pointed out that prohibiting the sale of Iranian petrol would result in the loss of income for several households. However, he directed that the petrol should be sold in designated areas away from residential regions. Sales in densely populated residential areas are strictly prohibited.
The CM’s decision to legalize the sale of Iranian petrol received praise from the political and social circles of the province. Balochistan’s Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs, Mir Ziaullah Langau, expressed support for the CM’s orders, considering them beneficial for the local population.
Pakistani businessmen recently reported an increase in the smuggling of Iranian fuel. Dealers estimate that approximately 35% of the country’s fuel is illegally sourced from Iran. The Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) states that the smuggling has become widespread across the nation, using Balochistan as a gateway. In April, the government issued orders to curb Iranian smuggling, as it resulted in a 40% decrease in fuel sales, according to an official letter.
S&P Global Commodity Insights estimates that Iranian petrol is priced Rs. 53/liter lower than Pakistani retail prices, which is a significant factor contributing to its high demand.