ISLAMABAD - Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has prepared a draft bill seeking amendments in Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 (PPC) and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898(Cr. PC) to end the menace of oil and gas theft along with subversive activities inflicting financial losses to the government which have been observed the established threat not only to the public life and property but also to national kitty. Available copy of the draft bill for amendment in PPC and Cr. PC with The Nation while revealing the salient features has proposed harsh punishments and imposition of heavy fines against the gravity of offence. Any person committing offence of tampering with main petroleum pipelines will face rigorous imprisonment up to 14 years and fine up to ten million rupees. Any person committing offence of tampering with auxiliary or distribution pipeline of petroleum will face rigorous imprisonment of up to ten years and fine up to three million rupees. Any person committing offence of tampering with gas metric etc. shall be punishable: In case of domestic consumer, imprisonment up to six months and fine up to 10,000 rupees and in case of industrial or commercial consumer, imprisonment up to three years and fine up to one million rupees. Any person committing offence of damaging or destructing the transmission or transportation pipelines by explosive material or in any other manner will face rigorous imprisonment up to 14 years and with fine which shall not be less than one million rupees, draft bill reads. While lamenting over the deplorable current situation of the country because of absence of specific law which pre-empts oil and gas theft, legal experts urged that there is a need to make necessary legislation to check this ever increasing menace to safeguard the public life and property and national exchequer. They informed that all such cases are being registered under Section 379 of PPC but the quantum of punishment there under is not enough to deter the culprits involved in such heinous crimes. It should be considered essential to amend the PPC and Cr. PC to make the offences like tampering oil & gas pipelines, damaging and causing destruction to oil & gas pipelines and theft of oil & gas liable for punishment of imprisonment and imposition of fines commensurate with the gravity of offence, they opined. It is worth mentioning here that keeping in view the criminal nature of the above offences, the consent of Ministry of Interior was solicited in the matter. Interior Ministry has given their consent/no objection for making the proposed amendments in PPC and Cr. PC. Further, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs duly vetted the copy of this draft bill. In view of the fact that the subject of PPC & Cr. PC has not been allocated to any ministry so far, the Cabinet Division has authorized Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources to submit summary to the Cabinet in its upcoming meeting. Accordingly, the draft bill, 2011 amending PPC and Cr. PC, duly vetted by the above said concerned ministries in this regard for its introduction in either house of the Parliament is likely to be submitted for consideration and approval of the Cabinet.