KARACHI - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday ordered legal actions against as many as 20 influential personalities after Rangers Director General (DG) Bilal Akbar revealed crucial facts about organised crime in Sindh.

According to TV channels, the prime minister ordered stern action against culprits in separate meetings with Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan and Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah on Friday in Karachi, after he inaugurated country’s largest oil refinery in Hub.

Upon arrival in Karachi the PM was received by Ebad. They held a meeting at the Governor House and discussed overall law and order situation in the province and other important issues. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar and Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources Jam Kamal also participated in the meeting along with others.

In his meeting with CM Qaim Ali Shah, the PM has reportedly instructed him to take action against influential political figures involved in collecting extortion. The directives came in the wake of a shocking report of Rangers which revealed that more than Rs230 billion were being generated annually from Karachiites through extortion and other illegal means. The huge amount was also being used for terror-funding, Lyari gang war and other criminal activities across the city, according to Rangers.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony of oil refinery in Hub, the prime minister reiterated that the operation in Karachi would continue till the elimination of the last terrorist. He said those involved in the Safora attack in Karachi had been nabbed and no leniency would be shown to them. Nawaz said that terrorists behind heinous attacks should be brought to justice in weeks and not months.

The PM said peace was vital in the port city for a booming economy. He added that culture of strikes in Karachi should be discouraged as it adversely affects the industrial sector and commerce. He said Zarb-e-Azb operation was going on with success and the hideouts and networks of the terrorists were no more operational. Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Senator Saleem Mandviwalla and Balochistan’s Senior Minister Sanaullah Zehri were also present in the ceremony.

In his address the Premier said his government was committed to sustained availability of fuel and energy supplies in the country to ensure accelerated growth in all areas. He said currently Pakistan required 22 million tonnes oil, but the country was still short of capacity to refine crude oil. He said it would take time to achieve complete self-sufficiency.

The prime minister said the refinery built by the Byco Group was an appreciable addition to the oil and gas sector, and it would go a long way in achieving sustainable productivity and increased profitability. He said oil and gas are precious natural resources and added that oil-producing countries boast a strong economy.

The refinery has brought in an investment of $750 million and it would produce about 1.6 million tonnes of fuel oil, 2.4 million tonnes of diesel, 1.1 million tonnes of LPG annually. The complex, with a crude oil refining capacity of 120,000 barrels per day, would fulfil around 39 per cent of country’s energy needs and cut down reliance on fuel imports. He asked Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to consider giving more concessions to new industries in taxation to encourage more foreign investment.

PM Nawaz Sharif noted the role of Byco Group in oil refining and said the setting up of the second refinery would help generate employment opportunities and help the country achieve self sufficiency in crude oil refining. He also appreciated the Abraaj Group for their investment in refinery and invited its head Arif Masood Naqvi to visit him in Islamabad and put forward suggestions and areas where they could make more investment.

Talking about Gwadar Port, the prime minister said it was his government’s vision to make it a free port and assured that necessary legislation would be done soon to accord it the status. He said the port would be connected through road, rail links to Peshawar and then onwards to Central Asian Republics. He said a beautiful road was being constructed from Gwadar to Chaman, near Quetta, while another option was to link it with Wakhan corridor in Afghanistan, from where it can be connected to the Central Asian Republics.

Prime Minister Nawaz said it would not only bring about a sea change in national economy but also boost the economy of Balochistan and generate numerous employment opportunities and provide inter connectivity with all regions of the country.

Latter addressing a function of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) in Karachi, the prime minister said the government would consider the proposal to waive off duties on import of new plants and machinery, adding that the duties can be recovered when the plant becomes operational.

He announced that a Business Council would be formed to discuss problems and issues relating to industry and commerce, adding that it will meet regularly under his chairmanship, and hopefully become instrumental in boosting growth and exports.

The prime minister said work is about to begin on the Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway, which would later be extended to Sukkur, Multan, Lahore and Peshawar. He also said his government was making efforts to connect Pakistan with Central Asian States. He also said construction of Gwadar-Quetta-Chaman and Kandhar route would open Balochistan to development. Nawaz Sharif said that massive investment of 46 billion dollars would be made by China under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He said two power plants of 330MW each are to be established at Thar which would use Thar coal. He said the ultimate objective of his government is to eliminate loadshedding and bring down electricity prices.