Pakistan is struggling to prevent thousands of citizens from smuggling oil from Iran

Thousands of men in Balochistan, southwestern Pakistan, are smuggling oil across the border with Iran. This phenomenon is not new, but the Pakistani government has recently ordered the suspension of illegal trade as it could cost the economy billions of rupees.

Iran’s oil smuggling in the Baltican border region Paranoia said Iran’s oil smuggling into Pakistan was decades ago, due to US economic sanctions on Iran and falling oil prices in Iran. Smuggling was promoted. Published by Jamestown Foundation Terrorism monitor.

“In economically disadvantaged areas on both sides of the border, livelihood opportunities are often limited to either drug trafficking or fuel smuggling,” said report author Fatemé Aman. Says.

“Fuel carriers have no other income other than transporting gasoline and diesel fuel from Iran to Pakistan, and a lot of money is paid to the organizers. In contrast, drivers and truck drivers take the most risk. Despite being there, they receive only a small share of their profits, “Aman said.

Pakistan Today reports that 1.2 million liters of oil are smuggled into Pakistan daily through tankers that bribe officials on both sides. This makes up 12% of all oil smuggled from Iran worldwide.

Pakistani journalist Ahmed Kreisi, based in Islamabad and reporting on the Iran issue for over 20 years, said the illegal sale to neighboring markets has actually helped Iran avoid US sanctions. Said.

“This is especially true for Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan,” said Quraishi, adding that Pakistan is subsidizing Iran’s budget to $ 1 billion annually.

Every year 3.6 billion liters of oil are smuggled from Iran to various countries. This means 63,000 barrels daily. According to Pakistan today..

“The Iranian government has forced Pakistan to subsidize US sanctions violations and have Pakistan pay for it, a major benefit that Tehran is extracting from Islamabad without any reward. That’s what Quraishi, who writes to Al Arabiya and UANI (United Against Nuclear Iran), said.

Within Pakistan, this illegal oil from Iran has caused shortages and volatile fuel prices. Attributive authorities Gasoline shortage in 2020.

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On April 21, 2019, Pakistan’s Border Guard (R) and Iran’s Border Guard (L) will shake hands at Zero Point in the Pakistan-Iran border town of Thutan. (STR / AFP via Getty Images)

Crackdown and violence

Two recent events have highlighted the issue of oil smuggling from Iran to Pakistan. Earlier this year, the Pakistani government launched a campaign against oil smuggling and approved a comprehensive action plan listing 2,094 illegal oil retailers.According to the three states of Balochistan’s smuggling outages Pakistan’s leading daily newspaper, Dawn..

Customs officials gave a presentation to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan stating that Pakistan loses 100-150 billion rupees each year due to the illegal trade.

Mr. Kuraishi said Mr. Kahn faces many challenges in trying to manage illegal trade. “It will prove a challenge, as the state is poor, China’s projects have not yet been successful, and a significant portion of the population depends on income from smuggling in Iran,” he said. ..

Following the Pakistani government’s approval of the action plan, another incident raised the issue of smuggling. On February 22, soldiers from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Iran were first detained and then fired on a group of fuel carriers in Bharuch. It was protesting after the Iranian government blocked the passage of fuel loads to Pakistan.

The shooting killed two people and injured six.According to one of the injured was a Pakistani Arab news pakistan He said this was another incident in which Iranian troops fired on smugglers in Pakistani territory.

After these two violence cases, dozens of protesters have been in Iran in one of Sistan’s major cities, Saraban and Iran, one of the most restless and underdeveloped desert areas. I got off at the governor’s office.

Mohammad Hadi Marasi, deputy governor of Sistan and Baluchestan, told Iran’s state television on February 23 that anger in the governor’s office was on the Pakistani side of the border near Saraban the day before. He said it was due to the shooting of.

Marasi pointed his finger at Pakistan and said the army had fired at a group of fuel smugglers returning to Iran, killing one and injuring four.

Quraishi said the approval of Pakistan’s action plan and the dismissal by the IRGC were two separate cases. “There is no superficial link. The incident in Saraban is likely the result of a turf war between an independent smuggler and the IRGC, which itself is involved in oil smuggling,” he said. Stated.

According to Quraishi, the IRGC has obtained some funding to operate it from “illegal trade” that occurs through the Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan border triangle. The border triangle is the corner where the borders of the three countries meet.

“Locals say IRGC police are involved in oil and diesel trade, smuggling of smuggled goods, drugs and electronics. The proceeds from these operations are generated by IRGC in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We partially fund our operations and local agents, “he said.

Saeed Ghasseminejad is a Associate Fellow of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. In 2015 he writing In “How Revolutionary Guards Like the Iranian Mafia Dominate the Country’s Black Market,” Iran’s underground economy is estimated to be worth $ 140 billion, with IRGC being its primary manager and beneficiary. Is a person.

“This income provides security guards with financial independence from Iran’s civil politicians, and IRGC will be responsible for Iran’s underworld and its criminal gangs,” wrote Ghasseminejad. The basic situation described by Ghasseminejad remains the same.

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On September 27, 2020, a man stands beside a carriage loaded with oil drums on the streets of Lahore. (ARIF ALI / AFP via Getty Images)

Can Pakistan take advantage of the situation?

Pakistan and Iran share a 560-mile porous border where drug, human and petroleum product smuggling takes place. The border is not peaceful, and Pakistan often accuses the IRGC of repeated violent invasions of its territory. According to dawn.

But oil is a geopolitically important product, and Quraishi asks whether Pakistan can use oil smuggling funds to “utilize” cooperation from the Iranian government in other important areas between its two neighbors. I think it is important to find out.

“There are many wanted militants and terrorists in Islamabad who are hiding in Iran and waiting to be handed over. These are the ethnic militants of Barotistan, the violent religious militants of Karachi, and the violence between denominations. Includes Punjabs involved in the process, “said Quraishi.

“Pakistan is also dissatisfied with several Sunni radical groups based in Baloch and Iran, such as al-Qaeda and Uzbek militants. Within Afghanistan, which began after the 1979 Homeinist Revolution. Not to mention the long-term Iran-Pakistan competition. ” Pakistan added that the continuation of oil smuggling from Iran should be leveraged in return for Iran’s cooperation in Afghanistan.

He added that this is a fictitious proposal as Pakistan is now ordering a crackdown on Iran’s oil smuggling, but negotiations in return for cooperation within Afghanistan are in favor of both neighbors. Will be.

“The only drawback of this hypothesis is that Pakistan directly violates US sanctions on Iran, a risk that Pakistan is not worth taking in exchange for cooperation from an unreliable partner like Iran,” he said. Said.