JHANG: The increasing number of unauthorised petrol pumps in every nook and corner of the district, especially in the residential areas, is causing a great environmental hazard.

Talking to Dawn, environmental activist Hasnain Naul, the president of Green Jhang, a non-government organisation, expressed concerns over the illegal practice going on unchecked in the district for the last many years in connivance with the district administration and the officials of petroleum ministry. He said the illegal petrol pumps were having a mushroom growth in violation of the policy given in rules of the petroleum ministry to set up a filling station, which required a certain procedure.

These unauthorised petrol pumps have outnumbered the legal petrol pumps in the district. They also pose a big life hazard as they are installed in thickly populated areas such as markets and bus stands and even, in some instances, close to educational institutions.

Some people have gone to the extent of converting their shops and rooms of their houses into mini petrol pumps and any mishap may result in colossal loss of life and property.

These pumps sell substandard petrol, which pollutes the environment as well as adversely affect the vehicles.

Mr Naul said it was not only the environmental problem as it deprived the national exchequer of revenue in form of fee and tax. The local people demanded the authorities concerned to take stock of the situation and take action against thousands of illegal petrol pumps.

ARRESTED: Jhang police arrested seven alleged foreign nationals from the heart of city on Thursday.

According to the first information report (FIR), lodged under the Foreigner Act with the Jhang City Police Station, seven suspects, namely Gull Wali, Ashiq, Muhammadullah, Usman, Raza Gull, Fareed and Mashooq, were Afghanistan nationals who were overstaying in Pakistan. They were on a visit visa, which had expired long time back yet they were doing businesses in the Ayub Chowk area of Jhang Sadder.

They were living in a rented house in the same area. The police raided the house and asked the suspects to produce the documents to stay in Pakistan. When they failed to do that, the police arrested and booked them.

Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2020