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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Former Prime Minister Kakar Denies Wrongdoing Amid Wheat Import Probe

Kakar stated in an interview with a local TV channel that he would willingly appear before the wheat inquiry committee if summoned.

Former caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has refuted any wrongdoing in the wheat import debacle, expressing his willingness to cooperate with the investigation initiated by incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Kakar stated in an interview with a local TV channel that he would willingly appear before the wheat inquiry committee if summoned.

Prime Minister Sharif established an inquiry committee, chaired by Cabinet Division Secretary Kamran Afzal, to delve into the excessive wheat imports and ascertain accountability for surpassing demand and authorizing LCs post-February.

Read more: Flour Prices Plummet after Punjab Gov Fails to Procure Wheat

Kakar, now serving as a senator, clarified that no new legislation was enacted during his tenure to facilitate wheat importation. He emphasized that his administration merely encouraged private sector involvement, leveraging existing Statutory Regulatory Orders (SRO) inherited from the PTI-led government.

The former PM highlighted that his government’s actions were aimed at cost-saving, aligning with ECC estimates of 3 to 4 million metric tonnes wheat requirement. Kakar vehemently denied allegations of corruption or impropriety, likening them to fanciful childhood tales.

The federal government faces challenges as surplus wheat stock inhibits provincial purchases, leading to lower market prices, concerning farmers. Ministry of National Food Security reports indicated an additional import of 2.45 million tonnes under Kakar’s administration, purportedly resulting in over Rs.300 billion loss to the national treasury.

Read more: Hanif Abbasi, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar engage in heated altercation on wheat crisis