The Senate Standing Committee on Interior was informed that 12 top oil importers had been responsible for creating artificial oil shortage in the country.

The panel, which met under the chairmanship of Rehman Malik, at the Parliament House on Thursday, was told that the FIA had identified those involved in the malpractice.

The committee was given a detailed briefing by the petroleum secretary and FIA additional director general with reference to the failure of the concerned departments to control corruption and hoarding by the oil marketing companies (OMCs), which had caused inconvenience and unrest all over the country.

The body was told that the FIA had detected top 12 oil importers who were responsible for creating oil shortage in the country.

The panel was further informed that the malpractice, which resulted in kick-back of millions of dollars, had foreigners based in Dubai, UK and Malta involved.

It was noted that the diesel was imported illegally from Iran by using forged documents from Alhamriya Dubai and that the refinery’s owner and partners were involved in it.

The body was apprised that the artificial shortage and stockpiling of petroleum products was a major problem which caused a loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer.

In addition, the petroleum secretary gave detailed briefing as to how the wet and dry mechanism was used for the purpose.

The companies ensured to make the petrol stations dry from Karachi to Khyber and only make them wet after the rise of price of oil through hidden hoarding and ships from the high sea, the petroleum secretary said.

The committee was told that the owners had their networks in Dubai and UK and that some highly influential smugglers had been identified.

An in-camera meeting will be held next week where the FIA will explain the mechanics adopted by the importers for creating artificial shortage of oil and the benefit drawn out of it.

The panel decided to constitute a sub-committee to look into the details and resolved to take all those involved in the crime to task.

The committee served a detailed questionnaire to the Ogra chairman and directed him to come up with a comprehensive plan to stop the shortage of oil in future.