KARACHI: The oil and gas companies working in Sindh have complained that political and criminal groups are forcing them to pay extortion.
The representatives of Pakistan Petroleum Limited, United Energy Pakistan Limited, Oil and Gas Development Company, and OMV group shared their concerns in a meeting with Sindh chief secretary Muhammad Siddique Memon on Monday.
The officials told Memon how these criminals threaten to explode their installations and then force them to pay millions of rupees as extortion. They have lodged complaints with the relevant police officials but to no avail. Even police officials have close links with these criminals, the company representatives pointed out.
After hearing their complaints, Memon asked them to share details of such police officers and assured him of taking strict action against them.
It was also decided to appoint energy department director Tariq Ali Shah, as the focal person to coordinate who will the oil and gas companies and the relevant DIGs and SPPs to resolve this matter. Most of these companies are involved in oil exploration in Khairpur, Ghotki, Hyderabad, Sanghar and Dadu districts.
According to an officer who wished to remain anonymous, some political workers in Khairpur Mirs receive Rs10 million per month as extortion from Sawan Wari and Qadin Wari gas fields. Once, these activists partially damaged the gas pipelines when the company failed to make a payment.
The meeting was attended by home secretary Mukhtiar Soomro and the DIGs of Sukkur, Hyderabad and Benazirabad districts, along with officials of the energy department.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2015.