Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Monday asked federal and provincial agencies to launch a crack down against pilferers of gas and electricity for preventing huge losses to the national exchequer. He issued the instructions during a visit to Oriental Textile Mills on the Faisalabad-Jhang Road where a special squad under the supervision of the district coordination officer (DCO) and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) had detected massive gas theft about a week ago. In a briefing to the prime minister, DCO Najam Ahmad Shah said the  squad had unearthed massive pilferage of 588mmcf gas in the mill. The mill wasstealing gas worth Rs 270 million annually which was causing huge losses to SNGPL, he added.

The prime minister was also briefed by the DCO and Regional Police Officer (RPO) Tariq Islam about gas and electricity theft cases detected by the squad during the last fortnight in line with directions by the prime minister and the Punjab chief minister.

He appreciated efforts of the squad and directed them to accelerate the drive and ensure that all those involved in gas and power theft were brought to book for plundering national resources.

“This is a serious crime and all elements involved in it must be dealt with an iron hand and proceeded in accordance with law. Criminal cases should be registered against them besides recovering detection bills,” he added.

He said the campaign against gas and power thieves should be accelerated to reduce extraordinary losses to the power and gas sector.

He said all agencies should fully support the campaign to make it a success. Nawaz Sharif also asked Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to ensure that police and administration extend their cooperation to power and gas authorities.

“Elimination of power and gas pilferage is our top priority to end the energy crisis in the country,” he added.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the campaign against gas and power thieves would continue vigorously as the government was committed to overcoming the energy crisis.

Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Minister for Petroleum and National Resources Khaqan Abbasi, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Pervaiz Rasheed, Provincial Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah Khan, MNA Abid Sher Ali and local MNAs and MPAs were also present.