Terrorists groups have threatened public oil and gas companies, mainly Pakistan State Oil (PSO), to stop supplies to the Pakistan Army and Nato forces operating in Afghanistan.
PSO is the main supplier of petroleum products to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) in Afghanistan. The companies have been threatened of terrorist attacks at their installations from unidentified groups following which the government has allowed the higher management to get bulletproof vehicles.
Minister for Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain said that discussions were under way on the bulletproof vehicles. “However, the Board of Directors (BoDs) will make the final decision,” Hussain added.
“PSO’s head office in Karachi has been receiving threatening calls from two unidentified groups to stop fuel supplies. One group wants the supply to be blocked to the army, while the other wants to halt supplies to Nato troops,” said a person familiar with the matter.
PSO’s managing director and chairman Board of Directors have requested the government to deploy Rangers to ensure security. Sources said the Pakistan Army has been very supportive in arranging security arrangements.
In a letter sent to the ministry of petroleum on July 12, Oil Companies Advisory Committee (OCAC) said that oil and gas installations of PSO were under threat of terrorist attacks. In view of the threats it is imperative that the ministry of interior be asked to play an active role to provide protection to our installations,” OCAC had said.
Presently, export of locally produced petroleum products to Afghanistan has been banned because of a shortage of diesel and petrol. However, the government has allowed imported products to be supplied to Afghanistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2011.