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Nadeem Babar’s initial corruption charges result is positive, asked to go home

The Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked his special assistant on Nadeem Babar to step down in an effort to ensure transparency in the investigation into fuel crisis, said Asad Umar, the minister of planning and development said on Friday.

“Prime minister has tasked the FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) to carry out forensic audit of OMCs (Oil Marketing Companies),” Asad Umar said.

The planning minster also admitted that the institutions responsible to ensure the fuel supply across the country failed to perform their duties during the crisis.

He said those who found complicit in crime will be dealt with iron fist. “Showing negligence and being complicit in crime both are different things.”

There is a lot of ambiguity in the domain of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) and petroleum division, Umar said, adding that the government will amend laws to clarify their official role.

On December 15, 2020, the commission of inquiry headed by the FIA presented before the federal cabinet its report on a petrol crisis that hit the country in June last year on the heels of a sugar and flour crisis.

The report had noted that one of the reasons behind the crisis was a lack of coordination among the departments working under the Petroleum Division and had also held the petroleum secretary and director-general oil responsible.

It had noted that the OMCs deliberately stopped supplying petrol to pumps despite having stocks at their disposal. The report said the OMCs had made from Rs6 to Rs8 billion during the June oil crisis by committing every illegality in “business as usual” manner.

In July 2020, the Lahore High Court (LHC) observed that Nadeem Babar was prima facie responsible for the fuel crisis as he was running the affairs of energy ministry’s petroleum division. 

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