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FAISALABAD, July 30: Six MNAs of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz have reignited the issue of gas theft by a party parliamentarian and other owners of a mill.

A squad detected gas theft of Rs1 billion in the mill owned by Asim Nazir, an MNA from NA-77, former MNA Shahid Nazir and former district nazim Zahid Nazir in November last year. The perpetrators allegedly got away with the crime after one of their employees paid fine.

MNAs Ghulam Rasool Sahi (NA-75), Talal Badar Chaudhry (NA-76), Rajab Ali Baloch (NA-78), Mohammad Shahbaz Babar (NA-79), Mian Mohammad Farooq (NA-80) and Dr Nisar Ahmed (NA-81) had met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday last and reminded him of the case, demanding that the “influential mill owners” be penalised.

These MNAs also handed over a letter to the premier, urging him to take action against the “black sheep within the party”.

“You have started a campaign against the gas and electricity pilferers, which is commendable. In the current situation such elements are causing loss and they are enemy of the country. However, it is regretted that some black sheep are also in the party ranks and the Masood Textile Mills is an example of it,” reads the letter which seeks action against the party MNA.

The MNAs claimed that several cases of corruption in the previous regime had been swept under the carpet.

On Nov 28 last, a team of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited raided the Masood Textile Mills (MTM) and its adjacent Akhtar confectionary at Ghaseetpura (Balochni police remit). The team detected illegal consumption of gas being used by connecting a by-pass with the SNGPL line.

An application was filed with the police for registration of a case. MNA Asim Nazir pleaded not guilty by claiming that he had no link with the mill. The police allegedly kept the application pending allowing time to the influential people to clear their names.

SNGPL chief engineer Akram Arain raised the issue of non-cooperation of the police at the Criminal Justice Coordination Committee chaired by Sessions Judge Rasheed Qamar on Dec 1. On Dec 6, the SNGPL general manager had sent a letter (GMF-D/11) to the regional police officer, the city police officer and the SSP (investigation) with a request for registration of a case.The letter gave details of how the mill manipulated the gas connection by creating illegal by-pass and ditching the premises, where certain modifications in their internal houseline and repair work were noted.

The officer mentioned that an application for registration of a case had been submitted to the Balochni police against Akhtar, the proprietor of the confectionary. “No case was registered. Moharrar even refused to receive the case property which was sent to the police station,” the officer deplored.

The police later booked Akhtar and did not include Asim in the investigation.

Sources said the parliamentarians had informed the prime minister how the MNA pressured the SNGPL to bury the case. They said they had to raise the issue when the PM visited Faisalabad a couple of days ago and inspected the Orient Textile Mills where millions of rupees worth of gas theft had been detected but they couldn’t.

They said Asim Nazir stayed away from all gatherings of the PM to avoid any embarrassment. They said people were denouncing the PML-N over the MTM issue.

Asim Nazir denies any link with the MTM and insists that his elder brother, Shahid Nazir, is its owner.