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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Inside story: Will final report of Sugar crisis be released on April 25?

JKT is most powerful man in Pakistan’s business and political community. Will the government be able to sideline him by publishing a report on April 25? Sources claim lawmakers have assured JKT of their complete support. Read the inside story.

Some lawmakers of the ruling party have reportedly expressed their reservations over the government’s decision of forming a commission to look into the recent Sugar crisis. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) senior leader Jahangir Khan Tareen (JKT), who is under fire over his alleged involvement in the sugar crisis, is waiting for the complete report to be published on April 25. However, he has already questioned the criteria behind the audit of his nine sugar mills and the selection process by the committee formed to probe the matter.

According to the inquiry committee. There are six groups control about 51% of the production of sugar in Pakistan, JKT’s Group JDW, controls 19.97% production, RYK Group (Khusro Bakhtiar) group control 12.24%, Al-Moiz Group controls 6.8%, Tandlianwala Group 4.9%, Omni Group 1.7% and the Sharif family owns 4.5% of the production, revealed the report.

Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, Federal Minister for Railway, has claimed in a private talk show that the report is unlikely to be published. “There shall be no report, I think,” he said. “Any report can disrupt the political process in the country, therefore, I believe that there may be some tactics to delay the report,” he added.

Informed sources told GVS that some MNAs and MPAs have ensured JKT of their support. “We are with Tareen shb,” the MNA from South Punjab said. There are also reports that if the commission presents its report on 25th, there may be a strong reaction from Punjab.”

It is important to note that earlier this year, following the shortage of wheat flour in the country and the subsequent price hike, sugar had also gone missing from the market. Taking notice of the situation, the prime minister had formed a committee to find out those responsible for the crises.

Talking about the 2 committees set up to investigate the crisis: The prime minister had constituted two high-powered committees headed by the Director-General (DG) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) along with a senior officer of the Intelligence Bureau and the DG of the Anti-Corruption Establishment of Punjab to investigate the causes behind the crises and price hike of those commodities.

Read More: Khan’s idealism or JKT’s realism?

On the 4th of April, the inquiry report on sugar crisis had named PTI’s senior leader JKT, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) Moonis Elahi and Bakhtiar’s relative as the beneficiaries of the price hike. According to the findings, Before the decision to allow export of 1 million metric tons of sugar the per kilo sugar price was Rs.55 in December 2018 that jumped to Rs.71.44 per kg in June 2019 – an increase of Rs.16.47 per kg or 30%.

On the 5th of April, PM Imran said that he was waiting for the detailed forensic report, slated to come out on April 25, before taking any action against those responsible.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on April 6 reshuffled the federal cabinet which saw Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar being replaced by Syed Fakhar Imam as the federal minister for national food security.

Read More: What was the criteria behind the audit of my nine sugar mills? asks PTI’s JKT

Bakhtiar has instead been given the charge for the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Bakhtiar has replaced Hammad Azhar, who has been appointed as the federal minister for industries. Industries were being overlooked by Abdul Razak Dawood, an adviser to the prime minister on commerce, textile, industries and production and investment. No update has yet been issued on whether Dawood’s role has changed after Azhar’s appointment.

“No longer close to Imran Khan”

Tareen acknowledged in a TV show on April 6 that he was no longer as close to Prime Minister Imran Khan as he used to be but maintained that the premier was still his friend and that he continues to stand by the PM’s cause.

“I’m in touch with Imran Khan on WhatsApp and that is likely to continue. I have no issues with him, the party or his vision for the country. As being Prime Minister, it’s his discretion to work with whoever he wants. I have no bitterness with his decision making. He is the prime minister of Pakistan, after all,” Tareen said during the show.

Read More: Complex Kaleidoscope of Pakistan’s political theatre

He also acknowledged that he has a long-running conflict with Azam Khan, PM Imran’s principal secretary. “When we came into power, I had a different vision on how to govern the country. He (Azam Khan) has a different one. I had told Azam Khan that the government’s job was not to enact incremental change but to transform the entire country,” Tareen said.

“Azam Khan disagrees with my vision for the country because he realises that enacting a transformative agenda would leave him powerless. I have always been against bureaucratic hurdles,” Tareen explained, alleging that Azam Khan was behind the FIA investigation against him.

The sugar baron also revealed that a vast majority of the prime minister’s cabinet agreed with his vision of the country. “I think 70 per cent of his cabinet agrees with what I say. But the prime minister fully trusts Azam Khan. But he also knows me. He knows the kind of man I am. He knows I get things done,” Tareen said.

Sources claim that JKT is waiting to see the final report and then he may react.