Pervez Khan Khattak, senior leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and current Defence Minister of Pakistan, has said Jahangir Khan Tareen, a seasoned politician and senior leader of the ruling party, has left Pakistan after his name was found among those responsible for the sugar crisis in the country. Khattak was addressing a public rally in his constituency when he slammed the PTI’s leader for not coming to Pakistan. He also called Tareen a chini chor.
Notably, Tareen, who was considered to be the closest person to Prime Minister Imran Khan is a Pakistani businessman and CEO of JDW Group, a conglomerate specialized in Sugar Manufacturing.
Inquiry Commission report: PM Khan’s boldest decision so far?
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.
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. The prime minister had further directed the committee on sugar to conduct forensic analysis of sugar mills to further expand the findings.
On the directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the reports of the inquiry committees tasked to probe sugar and wheat crises in the country were made public on the 4th of April. According to the inquiry committee, there are six groups which 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.
There were some speculations suggesting that the report might never be made public. Interestingly, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, Federal Minister for Railways, had claimed in a private talk show that the report was 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.
JKT was a big challenge?
Jahangir Khan Tareen, a close aide of PM Khan, informed sources earlier this year that some MNAs and MPAs have ensured JKT of their support even if the report was released. “We are with Tareen shb,” the MNA from South Punjab said. There are also reports that if the commission presents its report on the 25th, there may be a strong reaction from Punjab.”
Tareen, a senior leader of PTI, 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. He also rejected the sugar crisis report. The PTI leader said that he does not object to the audit of his sugar mills under the committee.
“Will the commission discover the reality behind all the sugar mills in Pakistan after conducting an audit of the nine mills?” said the businessman. There are also some speculations that the premier might have an idea that Pakistan’s flawed justice system cannot punish the mafia but he still ordered to make the report public.
Court suspends the inquiry report?
On Aug 17, a Sind High Court (SHC) division bench comprising Justice KK Agha and Justice Omar Sial had announced the reserved verdict on a petition filed by the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) against the inquiry commission formed by the government to probe into a sugar crisis that hit the country earlier this year. They declared the formation of the commission illegal.
However, the Supreme Court on September 2, suspended the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) Aug 17 judgment of striking down the sugar inquiry commission and its report. A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, allowed the relevant institutions to proceed with their investigation into the sugar scandal in compliance with the report. It is yet to be seen whether those who the sugar crisis shall ever be punished or not.