PM Imran Khan orders crackdown against sugar mafia in Pakistan

PM Imran Khan has ordered SECP, FBR and FIA to launch an investigation against sugar barons in light of the sugar inquiry commission report. What will be the outcome? Read this detailed story.

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Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday ordered authorities to launch a crackdown against sugar mafia in light of the sugar inquiry commission report. According to details, the prime minister has ordered the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to launch an investigation against sugar barons in light of the sugar inquiry commission report. Crackdown against sugar mafia is likely to bear some fruits.

The premier has also directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to conduct an audit of all sugar mills across the country.

In this connection, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar has forwarded a letter to governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Competition Commission of Pakistan and three provinces.

In a letter written to concerned authorities, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has directed concerned authorities to submit an implementation report on the matter in the next 90 days. The government also directed FBR to investigate matters related to unnamed accounts, transactions and tax evasion.

The letter reads that State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has been directed to investigate into sugar mills’ loans and fake exports, while the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has been tasked to probe the export issue of sugar mills.

Moreover, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has been ordered to determine the responsible people under the facts of sugar commission report.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered anti-corruption watchdog to analyze the aspects of subsidies that went against laws. The federal government also sought clarification from the Competitive Commission of Pakistan over delay in action against sugar mafia. The commission will investigate matters like sugar hoarding and non-supply of sugar at utility stores.

It is pertinent to mention here that the federal cabinet had approved an action plan against sugar mafia back in June.

On June 23, the Sindh High Court had stopped the government from further action on the sugar inquiry commission report. The petition was filed against the sugar inquiry commission report by Khairpur Sugar Mills and 20 others.

Read More: Sugar crisis report again not submitted. Will it ever be presented to PM Khan?

Earlier on July 14, the Supreme Court nullified the Sindh High Court’s June 23 stay order that restrained the federal government from taking action against sugar mills in light of the sugar inquiry commission’s recommendations and allowed the government to launch a crackdown against sugar mafia.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, allowed the federal government’s petition challenging the SHC order. The government through the attorney general for Pakistan had filed the appeal in the apex court, requesting it to set aside the restraining order the high court gave on a petition moved by sugar mill owners.

Sugar Inquiry Report: PTI’s JKT found involved? 

The government on Feb 20 constituted an inquiry committee to probe into a sudden hike in sugar price and shortage of the commodity across the country. It was asked to ascertain if the production this year was less than past years, if the low produce was the prime reason for price hike and whether the minimum support price was sufficient.

Subsequently, on May 21, the commission delivered its report identifying potential violations of laws by different manufactures of sugar and others acting in collusion or in concert with the manufacturers of sugar thereby being liable to possible legal action(s) or proceedings as warranted under different statutes.

Read More: JIT Reports: PTI government afraid of going to Supreme Court?

SC allowed the government to launch crackdown against sugar mafia  but it is important to remember that 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, revealed the report.

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.

Read More: Will the final report of Sugar crisis ever be presented to PM Imran Khan?

PTI’s senior leader Jahangir Khan Tareen 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.

Later in June, the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) moved petitions before the Islamabad High Court against the constitution of the inquiry commission and its report. Later on, they approached the SHC. However, the SC allows the government to carry out the inquiries as per law.